Hanif Kureishi

The author

Hanif Kureishi is the author of novels (including The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album and Intimacy), story collections (Love in a Blue Time, Midnight All Day, The Body), plays (including Outskirts, Borderline and Sleep With Me), and screenplays (including My Beautiful Laundrette, My Son the Fanatic and Venus). Among his other publications are the collection of essays Dreaming and Scheming, The Word and the Bomb and the memoir My Ear at His Heart.

Kureishi was born in London to a Pakistani father and an English mother. His father, Rafiushan, was from a wealthy Madras family, most of whose members moved to Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947. He came to Britain to study law but soon abandoned his studies. After meeting and marrying Kureishi’s mother Audrey, Rafiushan settled in Bromley, where Kureishi was born, and worked at the Pakistan Embassy.

Kureishi attended Bromley Technical High School where David Bowie had also been a pupil and after taking his A levels at a local sixth form college, he spent a year studying philosophy at Lancaster University before dropping out. Later he attended King’s College London and took a degree in philosophy. In 1985 he wrote My Beautiful Laundrette, a screenplay about a gay Pakistani-British boy growing up in 1980’s London for a film directed by Stephen Frears. It won the New York Film Critics Best Screenplay Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay.

His book The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) won the Whitbread Award for the best first novel, and was also made into a BBC television series with a soundtrack by David Bowie. The next year, 1991, saw the release of the feature film entitled London Kills Me; a film written and directed Kureishi.

His novel Intimacy (1998) revolved around the story of a man leaving his wife and two young sons after feeling physically and emotionally rejected by his wife. This created certain controversy as Kureishi himself had recently left his wife and two young sons. It is assumed to be at least semi-autobiographical. In 2000/2001 the novel was loosely adapted to a movie Intimacy by Patrice Chéreau, which won two Bears at the Berlin Film Festival: a Golden Bear for Best Film, and a Silver Bear for Best Actress (Kerry Fox). It was controversial for its unreserved sex scenes. The book was translated into Persian by Niki Karimi in 2005.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.

Kureishi is married and has a pair of twins and a younger son.