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Writing in tongues

Published: 23 October 2012
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'Knotted Tongue', a short fiction by Professor of Creative Writing Aamer Hussein, appears in the October issue of Asymptote, an international online quarterly dedicated to literary translation and bringing together the best in contemporary writing.

It is the first story that he has written in his mother tongue, Urdu. In keeping with the magazine's multilingual ethos, Hussein worked on a literal translation, which was then recast by Carole Smith, who is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Southampton. In a thought-provoking side-note to the published translation, Carole describes the process of idiomatically rendering a work that deals with a poet’s ‘knots in her tongue’ as she struggles to cope with the destabilising effects of the war on terror in her own country and also its consequences world-wide’. The collaborative process has produced 'a very English result...achieving a slightly different effect for a different readership,' but retaining the lyrical mood of the original; you can read the result here. Hussein's story, set in both England and Pakistan, is part of a series of Urdu fictions which later this year will be published in the Karachi journal Dunyazad.

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