Introduction

Writer of English fiction and a journalist, Bina Shah was born in Karachi, in 1972 to a Sindhi family and was raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Karachi. She obtained a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College, USA and an M.Ed in

Bina Shah


Professional Achievements


Writer of English fiction and a journalist, Bina Shah was born in Karachi, in 1972 to a Sindhi family and was raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Karachi. She obtained a BA in Psychology from Wellesley College, USA and an M.Ed in Educational Technology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA. Her humorous writing, political satire, and clear-eyed view of social issues have earned her critical praise and a devoted following amongst Pakistanis all over the world.

She has served as the editor for Computerworld Pakistan and Spider Magazine, both well-known IT publications in the fledgling Internet industry. At the same time, she began to write extensively for other Pakistani newspapers, including the Dawn, Libas, the Friday Times, and the Pakistani Web site Chowk. Her humorous writing, political satire, and clear-eyed view of social issues have earned her critical praise and a devoted following amongst Pakistanis all over the world.

She is a regular columnist for the Dawn and the Express Tribune, Pakistan’s major English-language newspapers, and has also contributed to international newspapers - International New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and the International Herald Tribune and international journals Granta.com, Wasafiri and Critical Muslim. Bina is a fellow of the University of Iowa, having taken part in the International Writers Programme at the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2011.

Bina is the author of five novels and two collections of short stories. Her 2008 novel Slum Child was a bestseller in Italy. She has been published in English, Spanish, German, Urdu, Danish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Italian. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Granta, The Independent, Wasafiri, Critical Muslim, InterlitQ, the Istanbul Review, Asian Cha, and the award-winning collection And the World Changed. Her humorous writing, political satire, and clear-eyed view of social issues have earned her critical praise and a devoted following amongst Pakistanis all over the world.

Bina Shah's first book, a volume of short stories called Animal Medicine, was published in 2000. Her first novel, Where They Dream in Blue, was published by Alhamra in 2001. A second novel, 'The 786 Cybercafé' was published by Alhamra in 2004. In 2005, 'The Optimist', a short story written by Bina was published in an anthology called And the World Changed (Women Unlimited/OUP) and an essay called 'A Love Affair with Lahore' was published in an anthology edited by Bapsi Sidhwa called City of Sin and Splendour, Writings on Lahore (Penguin India - Pakistani title Beloved City, OUP). In 2007 Alhamra published her second collection of short stories, Blessings.

Bina Shah's third novel 'Slum Child' was published in India by Tranquebar, an imprint of Westland-Tata, in 2010. An Italian-language version was also published in Italy by Newton Compton in 2009 under the title La Bambina Che Non Poteva Sognare, where it reached number 3 on the paperback bestseller list and sold over 20,000 copies. It was published in Spanish by Grijalbo, an imprint of Random House Mondadori, in June 2011.

Bina Shah's fourth novel, ‘A Season for Martyrs’, was published by Delphinium Books (November 2014) to critical acclaim. It was also published in Italy by Newton Compton as Il Bambino Che Credeva Nella Liberta in 2010. For this novel, she was awarded the Premio Internazionale in the ‘Un Mondi di Bambini’ category of the Almalfi Coast Literary Festival in 2010 for translated fiction.

Bina’s fifth novel, Slum Child, is the story of a young Christian girl who chases her dreams all the way out of the slum and into the richest neighborhood of Karachi. It was published in Italy under the title La Bambina Che Non Poteva Sognare (The Little Girl Who Could Not Dream), and will be published in Spanish in early 2010.

Bina’s short stories have been included in several anthologies and writing Web sites. Her short story, “The Wedding of Sundri”, was featured on the Indian web site Women’s Writing and published in the anthology Neither Night Nor Day (HarperCollins India). “The Optimist” was featured in the anthology And The World Changed (Women Unlimited, OUP, and The Feminist Press), an award-winning collection of short stories by Pakistani women writers. “The Angel of Jalozai” was published in the bimonthly journal of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, while “The Good Wife” was published in the German literature journal Literatur Nachrichten. Bina’s essay “A Love Affair with Lahore” was featured in Bapsi Sidhwa’s anthology Beloved Lahore (also published as City of Sin and Splendour in India).

Bina lives in Karachi, where she also teaches writing part time at SZABIST. She is involved with the arts and culture scene, writes and speaks on women’s issues, and has done readings at the Second Floor, Karachi’s most well-known alternative coffeehouse and bookstore. She enjoys travel, practices yoga, plays the flute and piano, and loves dogs. Bina Shah was chosen by OK, Pakistan as Best Writer of 2014.