Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire
With her seventh novel, Home Fire, Pakistani-British author Kamila Shamsie has pulled off an improbable feat.
Home Fire is a work of great ambition (it's a rigorously researched story of global terrorism, drawing its structure from Sophocles' Antigone) and it's also a gripping page-turner. It's a stinging, and often funny, indictment on our facile political debates about terror, security and religious extremism. And it calls on us to recognise the humanity of both the powerless and the powerful in its story of citizenship and conflicting loyalties. The book's cast of characters includes an Islamic State media recruit, his twin sister and a British Home Secretary.
Home Fire won last year's Women's Prize for Literature in the UK and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Shamsie has twice won the prestigious Patras Bokhari Award in Pakistan for previous novels. Her body of work is characterised by in-depth research, and a preoccupation with the ways in which political events impact on individual identities and family ties.
In conversation with Sonia Nair at the Wheeler Centre, the ingenious Shamsie talks global faultlines and torn loyalties.
Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels: In the City by the Sea (shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Salt and Saffron; Kartography (also shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Broken Verses; Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction) A God in Every Stone (which was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature), and most recently Home Fire, which won the Women’s Prize For Fiction.
Sonia Nair is Program Manager at the Melbourne Writers Festival as well as a writer and critic whose literary criticism and social commentary have been published by the Wheeler Centre, Kill Your Darlings, the Big Issue, Eureka Street and the Lifted Brow, among others. She has chaired conversations and interviews at the Emerging Writers' Festival, the Melbourne Writers Festival and Footscray Community Arts Centre.