A Trend-setter Speaks
Saleem Kidwai
A SINGULAR VOICE: CONVERSATION WITH QURRATULAIN HYDER by Jameel Akhtar Oxford University Press, 2017, 219 pp., 1195
October 2017, volume 41, No XLI

When Jameel Akhtar took on the Herculean task of interviewing Qurratulain Hyder at length, her initial reaction was, ‘I don’t give interviews. I’m fed up with people. All those stupid boring questions, the same old stuff repeated over and over again, talking rot—No! No!’

Qurratulain Hyder (1927–2007) has been described variously as the eminence grise as well as the prima donna of Urdu fiction. Her best-known work Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire) has been called Urdu’s Hundred Years Of Solitude. She published five novels, several novellas and four collections of short stories and over thirty that have only been published in journals. She wrote scripts and produced documentaries in Pakistan and India and worked as a print and radio journalist in both those countries and in England. She was also literary editor for The Illustrated Weekly and Imprint. In Bombay she wrote film reviews and even dialogue for a Hindi film (Ek Musafir Ek Haseena), and taught in Universities in India and in the United States. She described herself as ‘basically a career woman’.

Continue reading this review