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Daniyal Mueenuddin, a Pakistani wins The Story Prize

A Pakistani-American author—cited for the empathy, depth, and complexity of his work—is the winner of the $20,000 The Story Prize for his book In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

At the end of an evening of readings and conversation, debut writer Daniyal Mueenuddin took the stage and accepted The Story Prize for his collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, a book of eight connected stories set in southern Pakistan and centering around the estate of a feudal landowner. The curators of The Story Prize, Dark and Lindsey selected the three finalists from among 78 books entered in 2009, representing 53 different publishers. The Story Prize is the highest prize money given in the literature award

Its interesting to read the experience that shaped his debut book from being a student at the Lahore American School to graduate from Yale and working for some time as a lawyer at a New York law firm only to quit a few years later and return to his homeland to compose this book, the story is definitely worth reading. It is mostly his own personal journey across the years that has shaped this 256 page collection of short stories. Daniyal Mueenuddin links a number of short stories to describe the interwoven lives of an aging feudal landowner, his servants and managers, and his extended family who have lost touch with the land. The stories in – In Other Rooms, Other Wonders make up a vivid portrait of feudal Pakistan, describing the advantages and constraints of social station, the dissolution of old ways, and the shock of change.

New York Times Dalia Sofer reviewed this book last month quite interestingly writes “Reading Daniyal Mueenuddin’s mesmerizing first collection, “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders,” is like watching a game of blackjack, the shrewd players calculating their way beyond their dealt cards in an attempt to beat the dealer. Some bust, others surrender. But in Mueenuddin’s world, no one wins.

On Nov 25th 2009 NPR interviewed Daniyal Mueenuddin for the Morning Edition, the transcript of the interview can be read at NPR website while the audio can be heared here

[audio:inotherroom.mp3]

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  • Congratulations! It just shows the immense and more importantly diverse talent we have in our people. Just wish that there are more local competitions in Pakistan to support the countless many right on our soil and encourage more of such talent to come forward.

    Thanks for sharing the news Awab.

  • Rashid Saleem

    I have had chance to read extracts from this book and this book is simply amazingly written. It gives you an inside view of how a “to-be-feudal-lord” managed not to become one and just took it as a family business. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

  • Winning from 78 books I must say. GOOD JOB daniyal! Pakistan has amazing potential and only if these people could come forward and give the real picture of Pakistan. They could come into the media and reflect that majority of the citizens in Pakistan are peace loving and want good relations with other countries. Surely if people like him initiate this, it is going to make a difference.

  • dr jawwad khan

    Great news…

    Its almost always good to read a pakistani descendent.

    i didn't read the book but as cited above that the story is about"personal journey across the years", reminds me that fairy tales were replaced by stories of the people with profound degree of characterization and story of the people is replaced by the feelings and observation of the self.

    i agree with sardar mohkim khan that there is a diversity of talent in pakistan. Pakistani writer are quick in experimentations and adoptation the propblem is the guidance. We had a brilliant minds like Ashfaq ahmed, Bano Qudsiya,Mumtaz mufti etc but unfortunately no one thinked to use their enormous capabilities of writing in grooming the next generation.

    I suggest the forming an academy (not like akadmi adbiyat) which could hire a well known national and international writers and train the young generation.Also the academy could suggest the books of national and international writers for the common man like me.

  • Nazia

    Teeth

    You look very possessive about that word Pakistani.

    It is good from your point of view but see and feel whether other dual nationality people want to be praised as Paksitani or not.

    Some pieces of sentiments of Danial moeendin(DM) though his own words.

    Interview With Daniyal Mueenuddin

    In Authors, Books, Fiction, Interviews, Literature, Reviews, Revision, Writing on February 23, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Q. Some aspects of Pakistani life that would be hard for American audiences to understand. What were some aspects that were challenging to write about for your American audience? Be it dowry or arranged marriages or even greeting someone with your left hand.

    DM. As much as possible, I try to finesse those issues. I don’t want to be identified as a Pakistani writer, but as a writer. I am not an anthropologist trying to tell you that these are the marriage of the Pakistanis, but as much as possible, I try to finesse the cultural differences into the human part of the story. But you try to duck a lot of that. Cheating. Smoke and mirrors. So as much as I can I try to finesse those moments.

    We Pakistani a desperate nation is ready to own all stars who want to shine on other's space more proudly.