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The South Asian Literary Recordings Project

Qurratulain Hyder, 1927-


Image of Qurratulain Hyder, 1927- (photo credit: Gaurav Sharma)

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  1. Pat jhar ki avaz.
    Nai Dihli : Maktabah-yi Jamiah, 1970.
    (not acquired by the Library)

Born in 1927 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, Qurratulain Hyder is one of the most celebrated of Urdu fiction writers. A trendsetter in Urdu fiction, she began writing at a time when the novel was yet to take deep roots as a serious genre in the poetry-oriented world of Urdu literature. She shook it out of its stagnation and purged it of its obsession with fantasy, romance and frivolous realism. She instilled in it a new sensibility and brought into its fold strands of thought and imagination hitherto unexplored.

A prolific writer, she has so far written some 12 novels and novellas, four collections of short stories and has done a significant amount of translation of classics. Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire), her magnum opus, is a landmark novel that explores the vast sweep of time and history. It tells a story that moves from the fourth century BC to the post-Independence period in India and Pakistan, pausing at the many crucial epochs of history.

She received the Jnanpith Award in 1989 for her novel Aakhir-e-Shab ke Hamsafar (Travellers Unto the Night). She received the Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1967, Soviet Land Nehru Award, 1969, Ghalib Award, 1985, Jnanpith Award, 1989, and was conferred Padma Shri by the Government of India for her outstanding contribution to Urdu literature. She served as a guest lecturer at the universities of California, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

Her books have been translated into English and other languages. The Library of Congress has twenty-one books by her.


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January 11, 2016
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