Pakistan Diaries – 4th March

Faisalabad

Monday. National Arts Council. A literary writer’s event has been hosted for me. I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet local writers, artists, media people and translators. My hosts are gracious and honour me well including with gifts.

The guests are a lovely group of people, all new to me. It is a very interactive session with each  party learning about the other. They about me – a British writer of Pakistani origin writing in English and living in another country. I am learning about their world and their specialities.

In a bid to connect and honour the national language of Pakistan and the launch of my novel Zarri Bano, the Urdu version of The Holy woman, I conduct my dialogue almost entirely in Urdu. It is not perfect Urdu, but they appreciate the gesture. It is a very cosy gathering of about 30 people and a very productive one. They get to hear a passage read in Urdu. There is a well meaning robust debate about translation of the novel. Was it well translated or not. Most agree that it was, although one had noted some errors here and there.

We learn from each and other. They guide me well as to what I should I do for the Chinese version of the two novels that I am hoping to get published in China. One or two of the guests express their enthusiasm to translate Typhoon. Just as we are served refreshments the lights go off as they do at times in Pakistan. We giggle away as I sign books for some guests using the light from their mobile phones! I leave a happy woman, delighted at having connected with some of the leading writers and academics of Faisalabad and having made new friends and fans.