Narrating Everyday British Life by Authors of Muslim Heritage, Then and Now (Public lecture, 26th August)


maps for lost loversThe second of our Late Summer Lectures will discuss the history of authors of Muslim heritage writing in the UK. Sibyl Adams (University of Edinburgh) and Hannah Kershaw (University of York) will explore the work of two authors in particular: Atiya Fyzee (1877-1967) and Nadeem Aslam (1966-). 

In the first half, Sibyl Adam will evaluate the historical resonance of Atiya Fyzee, one of the first Muslim women to write about living in the UK, by considering how she narrated the public events she attended in London in 1906-7 in her travelogue. By situating her narrative within the context of the Edwardian imperial metropolis, Sibyl will show the impact of being a colonial subject on Atiya’s narration of daily life and notions of selfhood.

In the second half, Hannah Kershaw will explore how Nadeem Aslam, a contemporary Pakistan-born author living and working in the UK, narrates the everyday cross-cultural interactions between the Pakistani migrant community and ‘the Whites’ in his 2004 novel Maps for Lost Lovers and what this can tell us about Muslim perspectives of contemporary British multiculturalism. Hannah will also show how Britain’s colonial history with India plays a significant role in how South Asian migrant communities navigate the problems of practising Islam in a secular country.

Hannah and Sibyl will emphasise the long history of authors of Muslim heritage (of varying degrees of cultural religiosity) writing about living in the UK, and by using two very different texts, suggest a development of literature that helps connect colonialism to current issues of xenophobia, Islamophobia, and migrant identities.

Late Summer Lectures runs every Wednesday at 17.30 at Alington House, Durham, from 19th August to 7th October. All are warmly welcome to attend; see the full programme here. You can also download podcasts of lectures from previous series. 

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