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Hanif Kureishi Biography

(1954– ), Outskirts, Borderline, Birds of Passage, My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid

British novelist and screenwriter, born in London, educated at King's College, London. In 1981 he received the George Devine award for his play Outskirts (pub. 1983), and he was writer-in-residence at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982. Other published plays include Borderline (1981) and Birds of Passage (1983). He achieved fame as author of the screenplay of My Beautiful Laundrette (pub. 1986), which focused on the enterprising immigrant community from pakistan; it caused great critical controversy, though the film was an international popular success. It was evident that Kureishi's satirical targets went far beyond citizens of Pakistani descent in Britain. Even more controversial was his screenplay for Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (pub. 1988), which depicts contemporary London riven with street violence, dereliction, and casual racism. Both films were highly critical, sexually explicit, and satirical about life in Britain under the Thatcher government in the 1980s. He also wrote the screenplay of London Kills Me (1991), in which two young people who wish to escape their lives of petty drug-dealing are prevented by the poverty-trap from finding work. He directed the film himself. The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Kureishi's first novel, satirizes English suburban life in the 1970s, and draws upon his upbringing in Bromley, Kent. In The Black Album (1995), his second, Kureishi explores the dilemma of a young Asian student torn between sensual gratification and the call of Islamic fundamentalism. The former triumphs, at the fag-end of the ‘glorious’ 1980s. He also edited, with Jon Savage, The Faber Book of Pop (1995).

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Knole Kent to Mary Lavin Biography