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The Begums of Peshawar

Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

The Begums of Peshawar

Author: Najma Yusufi
Publisher: Hachette India

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

In the old city of Peshawar, past the busy markets of Munda Beri, live the Durranis.

Descendants of the men who once ruled Afghanistan, they now survive on the trappings of former glory. Here, the Durrani daughters – vain, clever Maagul; quiet, dutiful Bibigul; knowledge-hungry Chan; and shy, overshadowed Firasat – live through loves and disappointments, marriages and heartbreak, and the trials they face as women growing up and settling down in conservative households.

Alongside their stories is that of Bano, the servant girl, who offers a startlingly different view of their lives, alive with the sights and sounds of a world beyond the confines of the sisters’ cloistered existence.

Moving effortlessly from Peshawar to Lahore and on to London, the narrative beautifully portrays the Durrani girls’ small rebellions against the forces that have long oppressed them: the bonds of tradition and the weight of an inherited name. A richly evocative tale of self-discovery, The Begums of Peshawar marks the debut of a powerful new voice.

About the Author: 

Najma Yusufi is a film-maker and lecturer, and a descendant of the Afghan Durranis on her mother’s side. After completing her BA from the London College of Fashion, she worked for a number of fashion houses before beginning her foray into writing after her mother’s death in 2001, in an attempt to pay tribute to the Pathan women of Peshawar. She has also made films on the transgender community and the lawyers of Lucknow, India. She currently lives in Somerset with her partner and two daughters.

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