From The Daily Star:
Mohammed Hanif is a Pakistani writer and journalist. Trained at the Pakistan Air Force Academy, Hanif has an inborn talent to hit the mark with his genius writing. His debut novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes won the 2008 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the 2009 Commonwealth Book Prize in the Best First Book category. The novel uses the event of Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq's plane crash in 1988 as a spring-board to delve into the conspiracy theories behind it. His second novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, the story of a hospital nurse in Karachi, was published in 2011 and shortlisted for the 2012 Wellcome Trust Book Prize and the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
In this interview with the SLR editor, Mohammed Hanif talks about the mystery of babies, an occasional need to shout from rooftops and reminds Dhakaites how important it is not to take even a bit of freedom for granted.
SLR: How has your writing sensibilities been shaped by your earliest reading?
MH: There were about two and a half books in the village where I grew up. Colonel Mohammed Khan's Bajang Amad – the memoir of a Punjabi officer in Second World War – was very funny, very exotic. The second one was a collection of miracles performed by Muslim saints; fantastic. We also used to get a free government-published magazine by the Family Planning Ministry. It was quite mysterious because you never learnt how babies are made. And then there was China Pictorial everywhere. I am sure every little bit that I read influenced me.
SLR: You are both a writer and a journalist. We all know the responsibility a journalist has. Do you think you have a responsibility as a writer from Pakistan?
MH: I hope not. I mean I should try not to bore my readers or lecture them because that I can do as a journalist.