Your Coffee Table Made Smarter

Cover of Granta 112: Pakistan by Islam Gull

Compiling a country’s best writers and artists in one magazine is an ambitious undertaking in itself.

Attempting that with a country rife with conflict and reeling from natural disaster, borders on the impossible.

But Granta 112: Pakistan does just this. Combining eighteen commissioned written pieces and the work of fourteen contemporary artists, the publication is an ode to the literary and visual artistic power of Pakistan.

The compilation is a mix of memoir, poems, and short stories from writers who are living outside the country – Kamila Shamsie and Nadeem Aslam –  those going back – Mohsin Hamid and Mohammed Hanif – and those who are living there and writing in Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi and English.

This was no easy undertaking. Editor John Freeman, “followed serendipitous, word-of-mouth leads” to commission the 18 pieces. He gave the writers an open, unboundaried brief. And what he received was some exquisitely-crafted works by some of the finest writers of our times. The stories range in topic from the universal themes of doomed love, teen romance, immigrant nostalgia. But this is Pakistan after all, and “more often than not, the writing is framed within the unforgiving narratives of political repression.” (From The Independent’s review)

Passionate and compelling, Granta 112: Pakistan offers an intelligent, inside look at a country we hear about every day, but remain ignorant of nonetheless.

And then there’s the cover. Bursting with color, it was specially created by Islam Gull, a truck and bus artist of Bhutta village in Karachi who began painting when he was 13.

Granta 112: Pakistan makes a lovely addition to your coffee table. Placed on top of the magazine stack,  this one hints at your more global and intelligent self.

READ the online exclusives, Road to Chitral by Azad Abidi and BIna Shah’s Power Failure

SEE images from the visual essay


If your’e in New York Thursday, September 23, join Mohsin Hamid and Granta at the launch of Granta 112: Pakistan. At 192 Books, 192 Tenth Avenue at 21st Street, NYC, 7 p.m. Please RSVP at

Also in New York, Fatima Bhutto speaks at the Asia Society about her book, Fatima Bhutto: Songs of Blood And Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir on Friday, September 24th at 6:30pm – 8pm ET. Not in NY?  Not to worry, you can catch the free live video webcast at

Granta 112: Pakistan launch events will take place in Pakistan on Wednesday 20 October in Lahore and Friday 22 October in Karachi. In association with the British Council. Keep updated here.

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