Alhamra Literary Review
The first volume of Alhamra Literary Review is a successful attempt to break the silence of people who are inhibited or reluctant about expressing themselves and publishing their works. This unique collection of unpublished English writings by individuals both young and old is a refreshing blend of creative expressions in the form of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and photographs.
Alhamra Literary Review: a blend of creative expression
ISLAMABAD: The first volume of Alhamra Literary Review is a successful attempt to break the silence of people who are inhibited or reluctant about expressing themselves and publishing their works. This unique collection of unpublished English writings by individuals both young and old is a refreshing blend of creative expressions in the form of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and photographs.
The Asian Study Group organised a reading session for the launching of the book at Khaas Gallery. Eminent poet Professor Alamgir Hashmi was the guest of honour while two of the editors of the book — Ilona Yusuf and Bina Shah — conducted the reading session with some of the young writers whose writings are included in the book. The book comprises writings collected primarily from Pakistan and also from around the world.
The book opens with two poems of Hima Raza. The book is dedicated to her for her exemplary efforts in promoting Pakistani literature and emerging writers. Hima died in 2003 without seeing the compilation of the book.
The collection of writings in the book reflects the dreams, hopes, sufferings and yearnings of individuals who have found a way to break their silence by nurturing their expressive flair that becomes a window into new worlds and a bridge to the future.
The short stories and poems published in the book seem to be more than just creative expressions. Some of the writings are annotations of events with historical perspective with a touch of personal experiences and feelings.
The book is divided into four parts; fiction, non-fiction, poetry and interview. The fiction part starts with Zahra Romana’s ‘Let’s Talk about Flowers’. The story is about her times in Beirut in 1980 as a ten-year-old girl, her harrowing experiences of times spent there, including the death of her brother. The minute descriptive form of the story helps the reader to clearly visualise the turbulent times and experiences of the writer.
Khadija Hasan’s ‘Amnesia’, Farhat Haq’s ‘A Modest Love Story’, Bina Shah’s ‘Blessings’, Kyla Pasha’s ‘The Leaving Contract’ and Saira Hasan’s ‘Full Circle’ are included in the book. The fiction part also carries a translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s ‘Green Sandals’ by Khadija Hasan.
The poetry section carries some very fine specimen of contemporary English poetry by Hima Raza, Ilona Yusuf, Sorayya Khan, Zainab Omar, Aurangzeb Khan, Mehvash Amin, Shireen Haroun, Ansa Zafar, Zain Mankani, Mehrunnisa Yusuf, Harika Masud, Nadia Niaz, Kashmali Khan, Mahim Maher, Naveen Naqvi, Rayan Adnan Khan and Azka Tanveer. The book also carries innovative photography of Saidullah Khan Dehelvi, taken during his travel through various countries of the world. Sara Mahmood’s interview of Therese Benade also makes an interesting reading.