Published 11th October 2020 by The 87 Press.
From the cover of the book:Of Necessity & Wanting is a collection of lyrical, atmospheric stories of varying lengths set in urban Pakistan.
At its forefront are the concerns of people who are lower down on the metaphorical ‘chain’ of status and power, especially in the context of their symbiotic relationship with
those they see as 'other', 'privileged' or 'fair'.
Akhtar’s breath taking prose, which combines social realism with complex and intricate plots, desires, and psycho-geographies—represents a ground breaking exploration of women’s rights, such as independence and emancipation, in South Asia.
There is a familiarity in Akhtar’s characters that reminds us that, whomever or wherever we are, we share the same truths. Deliciously written, always entertaining and filled with striking imagery, Akhtar’s stories do the most magical thing - they show us who we are. Nik Perring. Author of Beautiful Words, Beautiful Trees, and Not So Perfect.
When she reached college, her first job was as a food server in the dining hall. She lived in America for nine years, in which time her jobs included waitressing and house painting.
Her love of stories and storytelling began at home. Her love for Pakistan came from her grandfather, who loved his country terribly and helped it and the poor throughout his lifetime.
She dedicates this collection to him —a poor, young poet who was given the takhallus (pen-name) Akhtar in his village in Sargodha and was to keep the name throughout his life. Above all, he transcended the circumstances of his own birth.
“The characters in Of Necessity And Wanting are all reflections of my beloved Grandad Haq Nawaz Akhtar. Long may he live on.”
She is dedicated to the promotion of the Urdu language. In this regard, she is working with The Stephen Spender Trust as an Urdu translator, taking Creative Translation methods to schools in the U.K. She has taught at the Poetry Translation Centre, London, working with poems by Kishwar Naheed.
Upcoming is a book of translations from the Urdu of pioneering feminist fiction writer Hijab Imtiaz from the Indian Subcontinent is due in 2021 with Oxford University Press, India. Hijab Imtiaz was also the Subcontinent’s first female pilot in 1936.