Tiger of the Week: Mohsin Hamid ’93

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Mohsin Hamid ’93 (Photo: Jillian Edelstein)

Novelist Mohsin Hamid ’93’s name seems to be popping up in the news every week. In February, he headlined the Lahore Literary Festival in his native Pakistan. In March, his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, hit the shelves, receiving several positive reviews. And in late April, the film adaptation of an earlier novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is scheduled to reach theaters. (Hamid helped to write the screenplay and consulted on the film).

In an interview with The New York Times India Ink blog, Hamid shrugged off his recent fame — including a Vogue story that placed his new novel among the year’s “13 things to look forward to in culture.”

“I met author Russell Banks at a literary festival,” Hamid told the Times, “and he told me that you don’t really know what your books have done until 10 years after they have been published. That means I will have to wait a decade to see if it has really had an impact.”

The novel, written in the form of a self-help book for Asians striving to get ahead, tells the tale of one man’s journey from impoverished boy to corporate tycoon.

Like many of Princeton’s alumni novelists, Hamid took courses in the University’s creative writing program (he lists Joyce Carol Oates and Tony Morrison among his influences). But the Woodrow Wilson School major took an indirect path into fiction writing, attending Harvard Law School and working in management consulting. When The Reluctant Fundamentalist, his second novel, became a bestseller, he says, “I felt like I could finally become a full-time writer.”

Read more: PAW’s April 11, 2007, feature story about Hamid, “East meets West.”

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