Huma Qureshi is an award-winning freelance journalist who writes for several newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian and The Times. She also puts in a weekly appearance on the BBC Asian Network. Huma’s work can be found at www.humaqureshi.co.uk and you can follow her on Twitter @huma_qureshi.
Huma’s top five festival picks…
1) The Many Faces of Love
I can’t wait to come along to this, because I’m a bit of a romantic at heart, and also because I adored Farahad Zama’s lighthearted, affectionate novels about arranging marriages; plus Monhi Mohsin’s witty tweets make me laugh so I’m looking forward to her talking offline!
2) The Ethnic Writer: How to avoid labels
As a writer myself, I’m all too aware of falling into the ethnic label trap (British, Muslim, Pakistani parents? Check, check and check) so am intrigued to hear what Nikesh Shuklah has to say on the matter – plus his book Coconut Unlimited rocked.
3) Sachal Jazz Ensemble
Okay: I have a confession to make. In the run up to my wedding last year, I practiced ‘walking down the aisle’ in my flat, shimmying along to the Sachal Jazz Ensemble’s rendition of The Girl From Ipanema. My song choice was vetoed in the end (ahem), but now I’ll get to hear them live (bring me that tabla beat) so the sashaying can recommence.
4) Pakistan On The Brink
The world is watching Pakistan right now – and this intellectual talk sounds fascinating to get an insight into the political instability Pakistan finds itself in. (If only this didn’t clash with the Sachal Jazz Ensemble…)
5) Watermarked: Women and Water in Pakistan
One of my favourite all-time writers, Kamila Shamsie, is appearing at this event, to talk about Pakistan, women and the aftermath of the 2010 floods – not to mention funny lady Shazia Mirza and the hugely clever Ziauddin Sardar. All three contributed to a collection of stories, published last year to raise money for the All Pakistan Women’s Association, which was beautifully put together by Homa Khaleeli, so this will no doubt be a wonderful evening.