23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto was born in Kabul in 1982. She grew up in Syria and Karachi with her father, who lived in exile during the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Fatima Bhutto is the granddaughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and niece of Benazir Bhutto. During their terms in office, in 1996, Fatima’s father, Murtaza Bhutto, an elected member of parliament, was assassinated by the police in Karachi. Fatima Bhutto earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York, specializing in languages and cultures of the Middle East and Asia. This was followed by a master’s degree at SOAS University of London and a dissertation on the resistance movement in Pakistan.
She published her first book, »Whispers of The Desert« (1998), at the age of 15. Her second, »8.50 a.m. 8 October 2005« (2006), examines the consequences of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake for the population. Her book about her family »Songs of Blood and Sword« (2010), in which she accuses her aunt Benazir and her husband Asif Zardari of being responsible for her father’s murder, attracted much attention. In her first novel »The Shadow of the Crescent Moon« (2013), she describes an eventful morning in the lives of three Pakistani brothers living in the tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan. Bhutto not only shows Pakistan’s troubles and criticizes the devastation caused by war and fundamentalism, but also paints a vivid portrait of her homeland. In her most recent novel, »The Runaways« (2018) Bhutto brings together three life paths: Anita lives in Karachi’s largest slum and eventually discovers a new world with an older neighbor – the world of poetry and political radicalism. Monty also comes from Karachi, but from the other side of the city where he attends a private American school and summers in London. Sunny has moved from India to Great Britain with his father because he wants to give Sunny a better life, but in Portsmouth Sunny feels loneliness and isolation more than anything. Bhutto uses these three fates to show how the experiences of poverty, alienation, and excessive demands can lead to radicalism. »This is a bold and probing novel, from a writer strikingly alert to something small and true: the disquietude of youth, the vulnerability and the foolishness – and how catastrophically it can be exploited« (»The Guardian«).


Whispers of The Desert
Oxford University Press
New York, 1998
8.50 a.m. 8 October 2005
OUP Pakistan
Karatschi, 2006
Songs of Blood and Sword
Nation Books
New York, 2010
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
New York, 2013
The Runaways
New York, 2018