Top Ten Tuesday: Ten South Asian Authors/Poets I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday – a tag born out of love for lists and books – was created  by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved in January 2018 to That Artsy Reader Girl .

Theme for November 26: Thankful Freebie

Since the theme was Thanksgiving Freebie, I decided to do a list of Regional South Asian authors/poets [Urdu and English] I adore. There are many in this list whose works have been translated in English but I’ll try to add a few lines about authors the general audience may not be familiar with.

Currently, I’m on a quest of collecting older editions of some of these, especially the illustrated poetry books which have now become collectors items. [Though I love everyone in this list, I’d like to add that this list is in no order of priority.]

Enjoy the read!


A short story writer of astonishing talent, Manto’s writings are raw, blunt and uncensored. His words have the tendency to shock your nerves, and yet the prose is elegant and rampant with dark, often macabre humor. He makes you think, question and often, revolt. What he does not do, however, is leave you with a peaceful reading experience. Though wildly translated in English, I prefer his works in Urdu.



Describing Ghalib is like writing an ode to the sub. A poet of unparalleled caliber, Ghalib’s poetic meters and metaphors carved for themselves a space within Urdu poetic legends that remains unfulfilled to this day.


A contemporary gem among old giants, Haider’s writing style is one I have come to adore. I liked her first book [How It Happened, an inter-sect Muslim rom-com] but my favorite is A Fire Fly In The Dark. Part children’s tale, part ghost story, it kept me up at night both during and after I was done reading.


Though an old writer, Banu Qudsiya’s works often straddle the line between classical and modern Urdu writings. The book given here is Raja Gidth [English: The Vulture King] is considered a modern classic and one of my favorites. Like many Urdu novels, it’s not an easy read and leaves you disturbed. But that’s the charm of this literary wonder. The plot, characters and their decisions linger long after the pages have been turned.


An old classic I recently rediscovered in translation. I read the book Aangan [English: Women’s Courtyard] during my teenage years and came across this excellent translation last year.


Though Faiz sahab is often considered a revolutionary poet, it is romantic works I’m enamored by. Again, like Ghalib and Iqbal, Faiz’s works have been translated in English so if you haven’t read him before, do give his works a try.

Note: The book in the picture is Nuskha ha-e Wafa




A famous satirist whose works I encountered much later in life. I haven’t read all of it yet but I I have thoroughly enjoyed his stories.


Have you read any of these writers? Let’s chat in the comments!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. lydiaschoch says:

    Ooh, thank you for this list! I’m adding these author to my TBR.

    My TTT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A. Perveen says:

      Thank you! Hope you like them as I much as I do.


  2. Cool list! I’ve read Jhumpa Lahiri, but not any of the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A. Perveen says:

      Hey, thank you so much! You should definitely try some of them. Since you’ve read Lahri, I’d suggest starting with Manto. His English translations are really good and he writes a lot of Partition based stories.


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