Fawzia Afzal-Khan to speak, read from memoir at URI, March 1

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Author of Lahore with Love, Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-Style

KINGSTON, R.I. –February 15, 2010–Fawzia Afzal-Khan, author, scholar, poet, playwright, performance artist and singer, will visit the University of Rhode Island Monday, March 1. Her visit is part of URI’s Read/Write series, designed by the English Department, in part, to bring writers from across the country and abroad to read at URI. Her reading, which will also celebrate International Women’s Day, is co-sponsored by the URI Women’s Studies Program.

She will speak from 4 to 6 p.m. in Lippitt Hall, Room 402, 5 Lippitt Road, Kingston. Her talk, free and open to the public, is made possible, in part, by a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grant.

Afzal-Khan will read from her newly published coming-of-age memoir, Lahore With Love, Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani-Style (Syracuse University Press, 2010). In the book, she shares how women, as teenagers, growing up in Pakistan’s patriarchal, segregated society develop enduring friendships that give them strength to weather the contradictions of Pakistani life. She looks unblinkingly at her native land with both fierce loyalty and utter despair.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University is quoted as saying the memoir: “weaves together memory and desire to create a tale that is marvelously compelling and endlessly entertaining, at once poignantly personal and richly political…”

The author is now an English professor at Montclair State University, Montclair N.J. Winner of the Montclair State University Distinguished Scholar Award for 2009-10, she is the author of two books of scholarly criticism, Cultural Imperialism: Genre and Ideology in the Indo-English Novel (Penn State Press, 1993), and A Critical Stage: The Role of Secular Alternative Theatre in Pakistan (Seagull Press, 2005). She is co-editor of The Pre-Occupation of Postcolonial Studies (Duke University Press, 2000), and editor of the best-selling anthology, Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (Interlink Books, 2005).

Afzal-Khan is a trained vocalist in North Indian Classical music, a playwright, actor and poet. She recently performed at the Smithsonian on the theme of “Belonging and Unbelonging” as a Pakistani-American- Muslim woman in the post 9/11 New World Order.