Zando and Picador Books to publish Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi’s ‘The Center’

KARACHI: Pakistanis have time and again proven they can do just about anything. This time, Pakistani author Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi is the one proving the fact. It was recently announced that her book The Center was picked by Zando and Picador Books to be published.

The Centre follows Anisa, a Pakistani woman living in London who writes subtitles for Bollywood films. The synopsis for the book reads: “Anisa is frustrated. On the one hand, she longs to have a ‘real’ career, translating books and short stories, and on the other, she is fed up of forever being the translator in the room – that person lodged between two cultures. Anisa finds solace in her best friend, Naima, a tantric practitioner and shamanic healer with whom she feels a strong political alignment and can freely discuss ‘the underside of life’.”

Travelling between London, Karachi, and New Delhi, the novel offers a brilliant exploration of race, class, spirituality, and the complicated politics of translation. Gillian Flynn, writer of Gone Girl, called the novel “stunning, thrilling, and deeply thought-provoking.”

For the Pakistani author, the process of writing her book has been quite the ride. Siddiqi reflected on how, “Writing this novel has involved a process of shining a torch into the dusty corners of my mind and my belly and then learning to react not with terror but with curiosity when the winged and crawly creatures that live in the silence come flooding out.”

Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi is a writer, reviewer and was contributing editor for the New York Times’ Serial podcast.

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