Intizar Hussain
Native name
انتظار حسین
Born21 December 1925
Dibai, Bulandshahr district, British India, now India
Died2 February 2016 (aged 90)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
OccupationWriter, poet
Alma materMeerut College
Notable awardsSitara-i-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, Adamjee Literary Award, Kamal-i-Fun award and Anjuman Farogh-i-Adab Doha's award[1]

Intizar Hussain (Urdu: انتظار حسین; 21 December 1925 – 2 February 2016) was a Pakistani writer of Urdu novels, short stories, poetry and nonfiction. He is widely recognised as a leading literary figure of Pakistan.[2][3][4] He was among the finalists of the Man Booker Prize in 2013.[5] As someone born in Indian Subcontinent who later migrated to Pakistan during 1947 Partition, a perennial theme in Hussain's works deals with the nostalgia linked with his life in pre-partition era.[6] Intizar Husain is often described as possibly the greatest living Urdu writer.[7]

Literary work

He wrote short stories, novels and poetry in Urdu, and also literary columns for Dawn newspaper and Daily Express newspaper.[2][3] The Seventh Door, Leaves and Basti are among his books that have been translated into English. Among the five novels he wrote – Chaand Gahan (1952), Din Aur Daastaan (1959), Basti (1980), Tazkira (1987), Aage Samandar Hai (1995) – Basti received global praise.[8] His other writings include Hindustan Se Aakhri Khat, Aagay Sumandar Hai, Shehr-e-Afsos, Jataka Tales, Janam Kahanian and Wo Jo Kho Gaye. Aagay Sumandar Hai (Sea is facing you in the front) contrasts the spiraling urban violence of contemporary Karachi with a vision of the lost Islamic realm of al-Andalus in modern Spain.[9][3][10] His novel Basti is based on Pakistani history.[2] Among his books, "Basti" and "khali pinjra" have been translated into Persian by Samira Gilani.


On 2 February 2016 he died at National Hospital, Defence Housing Authority at Lahore on 2:45 p.m, after contracting pneumonia.[9][11] The Indian Express termed him the "best-known Pakistani writer in the world" after Manto.[12]


Hussain believed that two forces had risen in contemporary Pakistan: women and the mullahs. He also acknowledged his study and the influence of Buddhist texts and the Mahabharata.[13]


In 2016, Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) announced the ‘Intizar Hussain Award’ which would be given to a literary figure every year.[14]

Accolades and international recognition

In 2007, Hussain received the Pakistani civil award Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) by the President of Pakistan. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize after Frances W. Pritchett translated his Urdu novel Basti into English.[15] He received a lifetime achievement award at the Lahore Literary Festival. Newsweek Pakistan called him "Pakistan's most accomplished living author" in 2014.[4] In September of the same year, Hussain was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.[16] He was also the first ever winner of the prestigious Premchand Fellowship awarded by Sahitya Akademi of India in 2007.[17]



  1. ^ "I'm a man only of fiction" Intizar Hussain, Dawn, 23 April 2009
  2. ^ a b c "Legendary writer Intizar Hussain passes away". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Intizar Hussain, leading Urdu writer, dies aged 92". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Ahmed, Khaled (6 October 2014). "Silent Type". Newsweek Pakistan. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  5. ^ "The ageless Intizar Hussain". Man Booker Prize. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  6. ^ Memon, Muhammad Umar (29 April 2021). "Partition Literature: A Study of Intizar Husain". Modern Asian Studies. 14 (3): 377–410. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00006879. JSTOR 312138 – via JSTOR.
  7. ^ Raghavan, T. C. A. (20 May 2016). "Narrating the life of muhajirs in today's Pakistan". Herald Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  8. ^ Rumi, Raza (4 February 2016). "In memoriam: Writers like Intizar Husain never die, they live on in their words and ideas". Dawn. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b Intizar Hussain, Pakistan's 'greatest fiction writer', dies at 92, Published 2 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016
  10. ^ Raj, Ali (2 February 2016). "Intizar Hussain – the seller of dreams". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Intizar Hussain: Mourning an Urdu literary icon". BBC News. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  12. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (31 October 2014). "An escape from ideology". The Indian Express. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  13. ^ Imtiaz, Huma (13 February 2011). "FESTIVAL: The best of Urdu & other Pakistani languages". Dawn. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  14. ^ "'Intizar Hussain Award' announced". Dawn. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  15. ^ "Pakistani novelist among finalists for Man Booker International Prize". The Express Tribune. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Hommage de Fleur Pellerin, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, à Intizar Hussain" (in French). Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  17. ^ "Premchand Fellowship Winners". Sahitya Akademi of India. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  18. ^ A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195671742. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  19. ^ The Death of Sheherzad. HarperCollins India. 15 July 2014. ISBN 978-9351362876.
  20. ^ Basti. The New York Review of Books. 2012. ISBN 9781590175828. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  21. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Chaand Gahan. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693506174. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  22. ^ Hussain, Intizar (2003). Ajmal-I Azam. Sang-e-meel. ISBN 978-9693509915. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  23. ^ Hussain, Intizar. Surakh Tamgha. ISBN 978-9694265308.
  24. ^ Hussain, Intizar (2013). Qissa Kahanian. ISBN 978-9695811788.
  25. ^ Hussain, Intizar (2014). Apni Danist Mein. Sanjh Publications. ISBN 9789693527339. Retrieved 1 February 2017.