Festival’s Hosting Lady


Fatima was born under curfew in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1982. Her father, Murtaza, was in exile from his home country of Pakistan whose military junta had executed his father, Pakistan’s first democratically elected head of state Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, three years before. Fatima spent her childhood in Damascus, Syria before returning to Pakistan, as a young girl.

Fatima published her first book, a volume of poetry Whispers of the Desert (Oxford University Press) when she was 15 years old. Fatima began her writing career with a weekly column for Jang, Pakistan’s largest Urdu newspaper, and The News, its English sister paper, which included written diaries from Tehran, Iran, Cuba and Lebanon during the 2006 summer war.

Fatima’s published works include a collection of first-hand accounts from survivors of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, Songs of Blood and Sword (Jonathan Cape) a non-fiction account of Pakistani politics and her family, and a novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (Penguin), which was long listed for the Bailey’s Prize in 2014 and won the Prix de la Romanciere in 2014. Her books have appeared in Italian, Canzioni di sangue in 2011 and L’ombra della luna crescente.

Her work has since appeared in The Financial Times, Granta, Vogue UK and Vogue India, The NewStatesman, Porter, The Nation and The Guardian, among other publications. She recently adapted her novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon into a screenplay with the director Michael Radford, of il Postino.