Friday, September 5, 2008

Recent News

Metronews Halifax New Books! List – December 6, 2007
Open Books Toronto Featured Fiction – January 11, 2008
Vancouver Sun Editor’s Choice – January 19, 2008
The Hindu Print Picks-August 4, 2008

"Brimming with unexpected humour and poignancy, and rich in sub-text, Saidullah’s stories never disappear. They haunt you!”—Deepa Mehta

“Ahmad Saidullah is a storyteller with an engaging and original voice and a surfeit of talent.”
Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India and Water

“These remarkable stories are propelled by a quiet but purposeful insight. They twist and turn in delightful ways. Where you would expect anger, there is compassion; where you might anticipate grimness, there is humour. An accomplished first collection.”
Rabindranath Maharaj, author of A Perfect Pledge

"Obsession and desperate attempts at escape propel these interconnected lives. This is a startling and memorable debut.”
—Catherine Bush, author of Claire’s Head and The Rules of Engagement

Saidullah’s stories are clearly the work of a painstaking and meticulous craftsperson. This is a skilled literary engineer.”—Toronto Star
The entire review can be read at:

Saidullah’s book is . . . studded with powerful images.”—The Globe and Mail
Entire review can be read at:

Saidullah's love of language is evident within the first three pages. . . this book will appeal to anyone interested in South Asian culture.”— The Hamilton Spectator
Entire review and author profile can be read at: and

An interview with Ahmad from the January 17, 2008 issue of South Asian Focus can be read here:

An interview with Ahmad from the January 27, 2008 issue of the Halifax Daily News can be read here:

Happiness and Other Disorders chosen as an editor's pick by the Vancouver Sun. See the story here:

In the December 2007 issue of Quill & Quire, Heather Birrell gave Happiness and Other Disorders a glowing review:

"The author’s stunning prose and subtle sense of the symbolic allow the tales to transcend their conventions. . . Saidullah’s bouts of description are either grounded in sensory detail — “the tinkle from the local shaka, the lowing of cows being milked, the rococo of a distant, laggard cock, and the occasional roar of a lorry rushing past” — or float away on a raft of dreamlike imagery. Either way, the writing is mesmerizing and confident. . . Like his weaver, the author of Happiness and Other Disorders possesses an entirely singular form of ominous and lovely second sight; he also has the literary chops to give it voice. Saidullah is a tale-spinner of the first order, and this collection is both a mystery and a treasure."
Read the full interview here:

“Beautifully crafted and remarkably layered. . .” —

Saidullah has thought seriously about what he wants to achieve. . . his decisiveness and descriptions are beyond those of most first — or even second — efforts.”— EYE Weekly
Read the entire review here:

"Via the medium of poignant story telling and memorable human portraiture, the author has written a set of almost folkloric tales that are some times dark but always meaningful - this is not a book one forgets in a hurry. " —
Read the entire review here:

Ahmad Saidullah read at events in Ontario.
International Readings at Harbourfront Centre
Date: February 27, 2008Time: 7:30 PM
Ahmad shared the stage with Commonwealth prizewinner Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and Elizabeth Abbott, author of Sugar: A Bittersweet History.
For more information visit:

Grit Lit: Hamilton's Literary Festival
Date: April 6, 2008Time: Afternoon
Ahmad read with fellow short story authors Richard Lemm and Dave Margoshes.
For more information visit:

Ottawa Writers FestivalDate: April 17, 2008
Time: 8 pm
Ahmad read with Giller prizewinner Elizabeth Hay and Gale Zoe Garnett. He participated in a group discussion on The Writing Life after the reading, hosted by Kate Heartfield of The Ottawa Sun.
For more information visit:

Luminato Festival of Short Stories
Date: June 12, 2008
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Toronto Public Library (Palmerston)
Ahmad shared the stage with Sharon English. Following the readings both authors were interviewed by Jane Urquhart.
For more information, visit

Masala Mehndi Masti: Desilit Writers Series
Date: July 26, 2008
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Better Living Centre, CNE
Ahmad shared the stage with Mary Anne Mohanraj and Arti Mehta.
For more information, visit

Penguin India published Happiness and Other Disorders: Short Stories in June 2008. Here are some quotes from reviews.

"The truth is out there. Unflinching, sensuous, this collection of stories is a stunner."— Tehelka
For the full review, visit

"Ahmad Saidullah displays a fine command over a wide and complex range of emotional effects, narrative styles, genres, and devices, all woven together in this debut collection."
Business Standard

"Happiness and Other Disorders: Short Stories (Penguin, Rs 299) by Ahmad Saidullah begins with a deliciously frank editor note pleading helplessness for the collection of stories that follow his introduction. He had discovered these stories in a gigantic black trunk, after his inquisitive wife fell into it. Chronically spineless — a medical disability as much as a marital one, the editor M. Samiullah, leaves off his research on “the hidden forms of the divine in Shamshuddin’s calligraphy” to reproduce these stories, some of which are “clearly untenable, if not impossible,” he confesses. The tales engage with the lives of characters in a north Indian small town ravaged by religious violence. Ahmad Saidullah is tantalizingly witty and presents the savagery of communal riots in all their searing rawness."— The Telegraph (Calcutta)

"This book offers portraits of characters and societies torn apart by violence and oppression."
Deccan Herald

"Saidullah displays a complex range of narrative styles in this highly original debut collection"
The Statesman

"A funny fictional editor discovers a box of manuscripts that reconstruct the lives of several characters from a small town in north India, torn apart by religious violence. The short stories that follow are the contents he was able to salvage before the box permanently closed. "Flight to Egypt", "Fifteen Sketches of Rumi" and "Happiness and Other Disorders" are a few of the stories that are beautifully crafted and keep you hooked throughout."— Femina

"Beautifully crafted and remarkably layered, Happiness and Other Disorders offers portraits of characters and societies Saidullah displays a complex range of narrative styles in this highly original debut collection. An unnamed man flees for Mumbai after assassinating a politician during a religious riot in western India in "Flight to Egypt". In "Fifteen Sketches of Rumi" , a young woman comes to terms with the possibility that something within her has been mutilated by her family members in response to her love affair. And "Happiness and Other Disorders" is a uniquely styled comic account of the editor's back problems."— The Financial Express

"Born in Ottawa, with a childhood spent in India, and now living in Canada, the author was named “a new Voice in Fiction” by New York’s L Magazine. With many an award winning short story in his repertoire, this book holds one of his finest collections of ten short stories. With a sensitivity that goes straight to the heart, his narrations emphathize with characters torn apart by violence and oppression. They are about a caste-cursed old man devoted to his “holy cow,” a simple man waylaid by mercenaries to commit a murder, with fatal consequences, a young girl with a split personality and more varying subjects. The last story also the title story of the book is a witty, six-paged paragraph essaying the editor’s back problem."— Twistntales