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We’re not Jews

Hanif Kureishi, 23 March 1995

... Azhar’s mother​ led him to the front of the lower deck, sat him down with his satchel, hurried back to the bus stop to retrieve her shopping, and took her place beside him. As the bus pulled away Azhar spotted Big Billy and his son Little Billy racing alongside, yelling and waving at the driver. Azhar closed his eyes and hoped it was moving too rapidly for them to get on ...

The Buddha of Suburbia

Hanif Kureishi, 19 February 1987

... One day, when my father came home from work, he put his briefcase away behind the door and stripped to his vest and pants in the front room. He spread the pink towel with the rip in it on the floor. He got onto his knees – and he was by no means a flexible man – placed his arms beside his head, and kicked himself into the air. ‘I must practise,’ he said ...


Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... the inexplicable power of the right sound in the right place at the right time. Jon Savage and Hanif Kureishi have gathered more than a hundred and fifty pieces extracted from punk fanzines, key texts of pop history (such as Peter Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music and Ice T’s autobiography) and the weekly music press, as well as from more outré ...

Paradise Syndrome

Sukhdev Sandhu: Hanif Kureishi, 18 May 2000

Midnight All Day 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 224 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 0 571 19456 7
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... Hanif Kureishi got me beaten up. Admittedly it was by my dad. At home, as at the factory where for more than half of his life he had been a semi-skilled machine operator, he preferred to communicate with his hands. Yet as his fists whacked into my face I thought, then as now, how right he was to do what he was doing ...

His Big Typewriter

Eleanor Birne: Reading Hanif Kureishi reading his father, 6 January 2005

My Ear at His Heart: Reading My Father 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 198 pp., £12.99, September 2004, 0 571 22403 2
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... Hanif Kureishi’s father, like many fathers, hated his job (he was a clerk at the Pakistani Embassy in London). But unlike many fathers, he tried in his spare time to forge for himself an alternative, fulfilling career as a writer. He was proud, humiliated, persistent. He wrote at least four novels, all of which were turned down by publishers and agents ...


Elisa Segrave: Is this what it’s like to be famous?, 11 May 1995

... going to elope? I feel very insecure. Before I went to America, Jill spent all her time promoting Hanif Kureishi and that Black Album of his. My editor kept saying: ‘Don’t ring Jill, she’s busy.’ Eventually, I told him sourly that Hanif Kureishi didn’t need promoting; it’s we new authors who need ...

Kureishi’s England

Margaret Walters, 5 April 1990

The Buddha of Suburbia 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 284 pp., £12.99, April 1990, 0 571 14274 5
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... The ‘beautiful laundrette’ that provides the title for Hanif Kureishi’s first film catches the flavour of his very personal brand of humour – off beat, off-the-wall with a cynical twist. Indian teenager Omar, working for his uncle while he waits to go to college, takes over a dingy, run-down laundrette, and tarts it up – with orange walls, fish tanks, hanging ferns, muzak and a glittering, picture-palace neon sign – till it’s ‘a ritz among laundrettes ...

Menaces and Zanies

Nicholas Spice: Hanif Kureishi, 10 April 2008

Something to Tell You 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 345 pp., £16.99, March 2008, 978 0 571 20977 4
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... In doing so, it is as if we find ourselves actually present in the room with Emma and Harriet. Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You, a novel which suffers badly from feeling obliged to include too much, nonetheless achieves some of its best effects through what it leaves out. There are two scenes in particular where the reader is drawn to identify ...

Urban Messthetics

John Mullan: Black and Asian writers in London, 18 November 2004

London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City 
by Sukhdev Sandhu.
Harper Perennial, 498 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 00 653214 4
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... vision of London. He finds it realised in the 1987 film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, scripted by Hanif Kureishi, especially the ‘extraordinary scene’ in which the screen is divided and three attractive couples ‘are all shown fucking’. Here is cinematic confirmation of the city as a place of unpredictable pairings and joyful ...

How much?

Ian Hamilton: Literary pay and literary prizes, 18 June 1998

Guide to Literary Prizes, 1998 
edited by Huw Molseed.
Book Trust, 38 pp., £3.99, May 1998, 0 85353 475 6
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The Cost of Letters: A Survey of Literary Living Standards 
edited by Andrew Holgate and Honor Wilson-Fletcher.
W Magazine, 208 pp., £2, May 1998, 0 9527405 9 1
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... who would happily settle for a regular 12 grand. Writers with film and mass-media connections – Hanif Kureishi, for example – don ‘t of course tell us what they earn. And since the survey confines itself to so-called serious writers, there are no Jeffrey Archers to cheapen the proceedings. The £20,000 p.a. average is in line with the results of a ...


Stephen Frears: That's Hollywood, 20 December 1990

... friend Marty’. I had known nothing of the 18th century or indeed of Pakistanis, but Hanif Kureishi had said: ‘Don’t worry – they’re exactly like you.’ Donnie Brasco is about an undercover agent who infiltrated the Mob, became alienated from his family and the Bureau, and came to realise that moral duty involved human betrayal (the ...

South Yorkshire Republic

Beatrix Campbell, 4 June 1987

Forever England 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 174 pp., £9.95, April 1987, 0 563 20466 4
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by Alan Sillitoe.
Grafton, 170 pp., £14.95, March 1987, 0 246 12852 6
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Left behind: Journeys into British Politics 
by David Selbourne.
Cape, 174 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 224 02370 5
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... in Bradford. It’s a city whose mystery Selbourne misses because he doesn’t see what Hanif Kureishi went looking for, according to a piece of his in Granta: ‘Bradford seemed to be a microcosm of a larger British society that was struggling to find a sense of itself even as it was undergoing radical change.’ Writers aren’t just ...

What to Wear to School

Jeremy Harding: Marianne gets rid of the veil, 19 February 2004

... in France this artsy, edgy quality, whose English equivalent is so well loved by J.G. Ballard and Hanif Kureishi, is rapidly giving way to a vision of despair, incivility and lawlessness on housing estates. Sarkozy needs to point these elements up in order to strengthen his appeal, but a man who needs the banlieues, where so many of France’s Muslims ...

Treating the tiger

Ian Jack, 18 February 1988

Tales from Two Cities: Travel of Another Sort 
by Dervla Murphy.
Murray, 310 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 7195 4435 1
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... television have begun to reflect a human diversity, as have a trickle of novels and autobiography (Hanif Kureishi, Farook Dhondy’s patronage at Channel 4, Praful Mohanti’s Through Brown Eyes). But in newspapers and non-fiction books ‘black’ Britons continue to emerge as one-dimensional categories which have to be worried about, feared or assisted ...

Loadsa Serious Money

Ian Taylor, 5 May 1988

Regulating the City: Competition, Scandal and Reform 
by Michael Clarke.
Open University, 288 pp., £25, May 1986, 9780335153817
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Regulating fraud: White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process 
by Michael Levi.
Tavistock, 416 pp., £35, August 1987, 0 422 61160 3
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... others,3 and it is also an operative assumption of the controversial films of Stephen Frears and Hanif Kureishi and of Steve Bell’s Maggie’s Farm cartoons. It may be that an unlivable and impoverished public sphere – where the buses are all but non-existent and far too expensive, where the inner city is a ‘no-go’ area (especially for ...

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