Writers etc. – Session 20 – Mariam Karim – Ahlawat in conversation with Noor Zaheer

Type: Event
Location: India
City: Delhi
Date: Thu, 2013/04/04 – 6:30pm


Alliance Française de Delhi, Institut Français en Inde


The French Embassy in India


Writers etc. – Session 20

Mariam Karim – Ahlawat  

in conversation with  

Noor Zaheer

Thursday, 4th April 2013 – 6.30 pm

At M.L. Bhartia Auditorium, Alliance Française de Delhi

Writers, Etc is our literary platform: a space where the written word gets primacy, where written ideas and their practitioners can interact with each other and the general public, coming together to ask pertinent questions and seek their answers: what role does literature play in contemporary societies? How do writers see their responsibilities vis-à-vis the public and, turning that over, how do we see writers? How has the written word adapted to its place among the growing pantheon of varied and addictive forms of cultural transmission? The aim is to encourage a discovery, unencumbered by genre, of all the written oeuvres, ranging from living legends to new and emerging talent.

For our twentieth session we invite Mariam Karim-Ahlawat who’ll be in conversation with Noor Zaheer.

Mariam Karim-Ahlawat is a pedagogue of French Language and Literature, freelance editor, and a writer of fiction for children and adults. She was born in Lucknow and educated at the JNU New Delhi and the Sorbonne in Paris. Her first novel My Little Boat (Penguin India, 2003) was nominated for the IMPAC International Award 2005 and the Hutch Crossword Award. Her second novel entitled The Street of Mists was longlisted for the Man Asian Prize 2009. Her play The Betrayal of Selvamary was shortlisted for the Hindu Metro Plus Playwright Award 2010 and will be performed in Delhi by a premier theatre group Pierrot’s Troupe. Her play Fractals Search for the Real was longlisted for the Hindu Metro Plus Playwright Award 2011 and will be performed in Delhi by a premier theatre group Pierrot’s Troupe. Her children’s musical about street children, “A Bagful of Dreams” was performed in Delhi, (Nov 10, 2012) with music by well known author and musician Peggy Mohan. She writes reviews and articles on literature and has contributed short stories to anthologies such as the Siècle 21, (Paris) South Asian Review (University of Pittsburgh) and Our Voice, the PEN International Women Writers Anthology. She published her first book of folk and fairy tales for children under the title Tales Old and New (Harper Collins India, 1994). For over 11 years she wrote a Read Aloud page in the magazine Parenting with her own illustrations. Since then she has published a number of children’s books (Tulika Publishers, Chennai) and contributed to anthologies, available in several Indian languages.

Since 2000 she has been writing multimedia design for children in subjects ranging from Science to Animation (e.g. NIIT, Animaster). She wrote a column on education and social issues for the Times of India Pluses for five years.

She has recently completed a project with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, writing and editing five books for children affected by HIV. These will be distributed free of cost through NGOs working with AIDS. They will be mainstreamed through Vitasta Publishers.

She is currently working on a set of four visual books on green living for children for TERI, with Mr Bharat Shekhar as co-author, and soon will be working on a save the Ganga Project with Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health India.

Writing in English, Hindi and Urdu, Noor Zaheer wields a strong feminist pen. Her important books include My God is a Woman [Foundation of SAARC Writers Literary Award], Mere Hisse ki Roshnai [Delhi Hindi Academy Award], Barh Urraiyye, Ret Par Khoon [fiction, Aaj ke Naam, a biography of well known Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Surkh Karavan ke Hamsafar, a travelogue of Pakistan and Patthar ke Sainik, plays for children. Deeply involved in writing for stage, she is an active translator and editor and has translated Peter Shaffer’s “Royal Hunt of the Sun” and Tennessee Williams’ “A Street Car Named Desire” to Urdu for legendary theatre director Ebrahim Alkazi; adapted M.F.Husain’s autobiography for stage for Nadira Babbar and Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” for National School of Drama. Noor Zaheer has done intensive research work in the Himalayas on Buddhist Performance traditions and Oral Tribal literature. The book on this research “The Dancing Lama” is under publication. Noor Zaheer has received the Times Fellowship, Senior Fellowship of the Culture Ministry, Govt. of India and Writer in Residence, Sahitya Academy. At present she is translating early women writing in Urdu to English for Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts. She was Director of the SAARC Festival of Literature, held in Agra on March 10,11,12, 2013.