Aamer Hussein

Aamer Hussein is a polyglot – proficient in English, French, Hindi, Italian, Persian, Seraiki and Urdu – who can read multiple scripts, and has written in English, Urdu, and Italian. As a master storyteller, he has published several short-story collections and two novels: Another Gulmohar Tree ( (Telegram, 2009, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Eurasia Region), and The Cloud Messenger. His most recent works include his first collection of Urdu fiction: Zindagi se pehle (short stories in Urdu, 2020); Restless: Instead of an Autobiography (2021), and House of Treasures: Perspectives on Urdu Literature (2022). His first Urdu stories appeared in 2012 in Dunyazad. His work has been anthologised in Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Urdu, etc. His early stories appeared in Critical Quarterly and Artrage, and anthologies including Colours of a New Day (Penguin), God (Serpent's Tail), and Border Lines (Serpent's Tail) before being collected in his first volume, Mirror to the Sun (Mantra Publishing, 1993). His other short story collections include This Other Salt (Saqi, 1999); Turquoise (Saqi, 2002); Cactus Town (OUP Pakistan 2002); Insomnia (Telegram, 2007), The Swan's Wife (Ilqa, 2014), 37 Bridges and Other Stories (HarperCollins India 2015, won the 2016 Karachi Literature Festival-French Embassy Award), and Hermitage (Ushba, 2018). His novels include his debut novella Another Gulmohar Tree (Telegram, 2009, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Eurasia Region), and The Cloud Messenger (Telegram, 2011). He is also the editor of Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women (Saqi, 2005), a revised and extended edition of Hoops of Fire: Fifty Years of Fiction by Pakistani Women (Saqi, 1999).

His reviews, articles, and essays have appeared in Third World Quarterly, Literary Review, Wasafiri, The New Statesman, the TLS, the Annual of Urdu Studies, Moving Worlds, and Asymptote Journal, among many others. He reviewed regularly for The Independent until its closing. He writes a regular column for Dawn and is a Senior Editor of Critical Muslim.

He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies (University of London) and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004. He served on the 2002 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize jury, the 2007 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the 2008 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and numerous others since then. He was a senior lecturer (2008-10) and Professorial Writing Fellow (2010-2014) at the University of Southampton.

 Born in Karachi in 1955, where he lived until 1968, Aamer studied for 18 months in Ootacamund, India, then moved to London in 1970. He studied Urdu, Persian, and History at SOAS and later worked as a researcher for films and TV before beginning to write full-time in the mid-1980s.