Hanif Kureishi

Hanif Kureishi

Hanif Kureishi (born December 5, 1954) is an English playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker, novelist and short story writer. The themes of his work have touched on topics of race, nationalism, immigration, and sexuality.

Kureishi was born in London to a Pakistani father and an English mother. His father, Rafiushan, was from a wealthy Madras family, most of whose members moved to Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947. He came to Britain to study law but soon abandoned his studies. After meeting and marrying Kureishi's mother Audrey, he settled in Bromley, where Kureishi was born and worked at the Pakistan Embassy.

He attended Bromley Technical High School where David Bowie had also been a pupil and after taking his A levels at a local sixth form college, he spent a year studying philosophy at Lancaster University before dropping out. Later he attended King's College London and took a degree in philosophy. His most famous work is My Beautiful Laundrette, a screenplay about a gay Pakistani-British boy growing up in 1980's London for a film directed by Stephen Frears. It won the New York Film Critics Best Screenplay Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay.

His book The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Award for the best first novel, and was also made into a BBC television series with a soundtrack by David Bowie.

The next year, 1991, saw the release of the feature film entitled London Kills Me; a film written and directed Kureishi.

His novel, Intimacy (1998) revolved around the story of a man leaving his wife and two young sons after feeling physically and emotionally rejected by his wife. This created certain controversy as Kureishi himself had recently left his wife and two young sons. It is assumed to be at least semi-autobiographical. In 2000/2001 the novel was loosely adapted to a movie Intimacy by Patrice Chéreau, which won two Bears at the Berlin Film Festival: a Golden Bear for Best Film, and a Silver Bear for Best Actress (Kerry Fox). It was controversial for its unreserved sex scenes. The book was translated into Persian by Niki Karimi in 2005.

His family have accused him of exploiting them with thinly disguised references to them in his work and went on record to deny the claims. His sister Yasmin has accused him of selling her family "down the line". She wrote, in a letter to The Guardian, that if her family's history had to become public she would not stand by and let it be "fabricated for the entertainment of the public or for Hanif's profit". She says that his description of her family's working class roots are fictitious. Their grandfather was not "cloth cap working class", their mother never worked in a shoe factory, and their father, she says, was not a bitter old man.

Yasmin takes up issues with her brother not merely for his thinly disguised autobiographical references in his first novel, Buddha of Suburbia, but also for the image about his past that he portrays in newspaper interviews. She wrote: "My father was angry when the Buddha of Suburbia came out as he felt that Hanif had robbed him of his dignity, and he didn't speak to Hanif for about a year."

Kureishi's drama The Mother was adapted to a movie by Roger Michell, which won a joint First Prize in the Director?s Fortnight section at Cannes Film Festival. It showed a cross-generational relationship with changed roles: a seventy-year-old English lady and grandmother (played by Anne Reid) who seduces her daughter's boyfriend (played by Daniel Craig), a thirty-year-old craftsman. Explicit sex scenes were shown in realistic drawings only, thus avoiding censorship.

His 2006 screenplay Venus saw Oscar, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Golden Globe nominations for Peter O'Toole in the best actor category.

His latest novel, Something to Tell You, will be published in 2008.

Kureishi is married and has a pair of twins and a younger son.

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[edit] Bibliography
1990 The Buddha of Suburbia. London: Faber and Faber.
1995 The Black Album. London: Faber and Faber.
1998 Intimacy. London: Faber and Faber.
2001 Gabriel's Gift. London: Faber and Faber.
2003 The Body. London: Faber and Faber.
2008 Something to Tell You. London: Faber and Faber.
Story collections
1997 Love in a Blue Time London: Faber and Faber.
1999 Midnight All Day. London: Faber and Faber.
Plays and screenplays
1988 Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. London: Faber and Faber.
1991 London Kills Me. London: Faber and Faber.
1996 My Beautiful Laundrette and other writings. London: Faber and Faber.
1997 My Son The Fanatic. London: Faber and Faber.
1999 Hanif Kureishi Plays One. London: Faber and Faber.
1999 Sleep With Me. London: Faber and Faber.
2002 Collected Screenplays Volume I. London: Faber and Faber.
2003 The "Mother". London: Faber and Faber.
2007 Venus. London: Faber and Faber.
2002 Dreaming and Scheming: Reflections on Writing and Politics
2004 My Ear at His Heart. London: Faber and Faber.
2005 Word And The Bomb . London: Faber and Faber.
As editor
1995 The Faber Book of Pop. London: Faber and Faber.
Critical works about Kureishi
Moore-Gilbert, Bart. Hanif Kureishi (Contemporary World Writers). Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001.

[edit] Filmography
1985 My Beautiful Laundrette
1987 Sammy and Rosie Get Laid
1991 London Kills Me (and director)
1993 The Buddha of Suburbia (television miniseries, based on the novel)
1997 My Son the Fanatic (based on his own short story of the same title)
1999 Mauvaise passe (aka The Escort, aka The Wrong Blonde) (with Michel Blanc}
2003 The God of Small Tales (short) (with Akram Khan)
2003 The Mother (adapted from the play)
2006 Venus
2007 Weddings and Beheadings (2007)
Story basis only
2001 Intimacy
2006 Souvenir

[edit] External links
Kureishi's website
Hanif Kureishi at www.contemporarywriters.com
Hanif Kureishi at the Internet Movie Database
Hanif Kureishi biography and credits at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
Faber and Faber - UK publisher of Hanif Kureishi
Waraich, Omar. When Bombs Speak Louder Than Words, Interview with Hanif Kureishi. The Daily Star, Beirut -International Herald Tribune Jan 28 2006
"In Conversation: Hanif Kureishi with Hirsh Sawhney". The Brooklyn Rail, July/Aug 2006
Audio interview with Hanif Kureishi from open2.net
About "My Son The Fanatic" Interpretations of and more background information on the short story.
Reference to family controversy [[1]]

[edit] See also
List of authors
List of English novelists
List of novelists
List of playwrights
List of screenwriters
List of short story writers

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