‘Indus Raag’ producer wins Global Music Award

Indus Raag – Music Beyond Borders by Tehzeeb now available at Liberty Books stores and online.

Website: http://libertybooks.com/bookdetail.aspx?pid=26731

Tehzeeb Foundation patron and music producer Sharif Awan has won a gold medal at the Global Music Awards (GMA).

The laurel has been conferred upon him for the album Indus Raag: Music Beyond Borders which is a part of the Indus Raag project that aims to archive the legacy of sub-continental music tradition.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Awan said he has been selected among nine artists from various countries for the medal. This is the first time a Pakistani album has featured in an international award show. “It really is an achievement for all those who have been associated with the project and have worked tirelessly to make it a success,” he added. Awan hoped the project will continue to play its role in the conservation and promotion of Eastern classical music.

It is pertinent to mention that Indus Raag: Music Beyond Borders was Pakistan’s first indigenous entry to get shortlisted for the 57th Grammys.

GMAs are held ever1125273-image-1466261508-643-640x480.JPGy year in California, USA, acknowledging services of people from different countries and cultural backgrounds for world music.

Last week, Awan announced the digital release of Indus Raag 2 — Karachi Concerts, the second album in the series. It comprises 10 hours worth of recordings that feature as many as 65 musicians from Pakistan, India, UK, Germany, France and Turkey. Recorded between 2009 and 2015, it includes names such as Ustad Rais Khan, Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan, Grammy-winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the Gundecha Brothers and Ashraf Sharif Khan.

This article is published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2016.
Web link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/1125273/indus-raag-producer-wins-global-music-award/


Critic’s Choice List Curated by Mahvesh Murad

What is Critic’s Choice?

We’ve been working for months on a special new category, ‘Critic’s Choice’. We understand that it’s not always easy to decide which book to buy when there is just so much to choose from. We have tried to make life a little bit easier for you. This list has been curated by Mahvesh Murad. 

Who is Mahvesh Murad?

Mahvesh Murad is a book critic. She hosted a radio show about books for 7 years and writes for Books & Authors, Strange Horizons & Tor.com, amongst other publications. She is the editor of the Apex Book of World SF 4 & co-editor of a forthcoming anthology of jinn stories to be published by Solaris UK in 2017.

So look out for our ‘yellow’ critic’s choice sticker when you visit us next. 🙂 The collection is available in store and online. You can browse through and order here: http://www.libertybooks.com/ViewMore.aspx?so=52

This Month’s Picks

SM CriticsChoice All 10_Pinterest

Thinner than Skin by Uzma Aslam Khan

Reviewed by Fatema Imani

I had no doubts after reading “Thinner than Skin” that the author, Uzma Aslam Khan, can really write and could give many of her contemporaries a run for their money. Her prose is lyrical and almost reminiscent of “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy. Both have this unusual quality of making their prose sound poignant and effortless simultaneously. [I have always been envious of writers who can do that.]


The book follows the story of Nadir, born and bred in America, albeit of Pakistani origin, and Farhana, a half-Pakistani-American woman, as they make their way to the Northern areas of Pakistan accompanied by two comrades, Irfan and Wes and how their lives are changed after a tragic event occurs concerning the locals of the area. Political and religious violence reigns supreme in the background [not really a shocker where Pakistan is concerned], and as the novel progresses, becomes almost interlaced in the story.   


The book rides high on the intriguing, local ritual, mating of glaciers, which Khan abundantly writes about. For a person who has never heard of this custom, it is definitely fascinating to read about it!    


Khan capitalizes more on the language as opposed to the story. Her descriptions of Northern Pakistan and its inhabitants are beautifully rendered. I definitely feel that the story could have been stronger and the climax rather than thrilled, disappointed.


In all fairness though, Khan’s work is definitely novel; her setting unusual; her characters unconventional; and her language elegant and intense.



Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey via @etribune

By Noman Ansari

Published: August 26, 2012

The book is classified as erotic fiction, where I am sure the word ‘erotic’ is used in the loosest sense of the word. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Which series has sold over 40 million copies worldwide and overtaken Harry Potter as well as The Da Vinci Code to become the fastest selling paperback in countries like the United Kingdom? Fifty Shades of Grey, of course.

The book is classified as erotic fiction, where I am sure the word ‘erotic’ is used in the loosest sense of the word. If erotic passages are meant to induce an almost impossible combination of disbelief, cringing and inadvertent hilarity then, by all means, Fifty Shades of Grey is the most erotic novel ever written. Frankly, until now, I did not think it was possible to wince, laugh, and grind my teeth at same time.

There is also no doubt that the book is fictional because it requires a suspension of disbelief that I believe the human mind isn’t dull enough to manage. I am not sure who the 40 million people who purchased this book are, but either the US is experimenting with fresher ways to torture those being held for terrorism or Fifty Shades of Grey is really popular with the stoner crowd.

The book is told from the perspective of a 22-year-old college student Anastasia “Ana” Steele who, while doing a favour for her friend Katherine Kavanagh, meets 27-year-old businessman Christian Grey and they develop a mutual attraction. After a longwinded courtship, they eventually become involved in a more physical relationship. Initially, their physical interactions are limited to regular sexual play. Ana, who has little sexual experience, not even solo, finds Christian irresistible, and through him reaches a sexual awakening. But things get out of control when they turn to BDSM.

To his credit, Christian is very receptive to Ana’s physical needs and is both attentive and successful at sexually pleasing Ana. Unfortunately, as a male reader, that’s the only positive or realistic thing I can say about this character.

Other than that, what Fifty Shades of Grey has taught me is that I would have to be incredibly handsome, in peak physical condition, a billionaire, a philanthropist, able to fluently speak foreign languages, be trained at flying aircrafts, be the world’s best lover and, on top of all that, be impressively endowed, to attract Ana. Yes, I’d essentially have to be Batman.

But while the depiction of Christian Grey as some sort of superhuman can be perfectly acceptable as a woman’s fantasy, his characterisation makes him quite unlikable. Not only is Christian emotionally distant, rude and gloomy, he is manipulative and borderline psychotic in stalking Ana. And for a man in charge of a huge company, he seems to spend little time actually working.

On the other hand, Ana is even less likable as a highly neurotic and insecure woman, who has never been romantically interested in another person until she found someone like Christian who only appeals to her on a superficial level.

Fifty Shades of Grey is poorly written, and that too to a surprising degree. Twice, I stopped reading to check if I had been duped in my purchase or whether I was reading an authentic eBook. This isn’t surprising given that this first novel in the trilogy by British author EL James began as erotic fan fiction for the Twilight saga.

Aside from the poor characterisation, the author did not do her research properly and used plenty of British colloquialisms that sound odd being spoken by the book’s American characters. Worse still are the words and phrases that repeat themselves with such frequency, including 58 counts of the term ‘inner goddess’, that I wonder if the author set shortcuts for common phrases on her keyboard.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 26th, 2012.

Shark Wars by EJ Altbacker – Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

Shark Wars

Since the dawn of time, prehistoric shark clans called Shivers have ruled over the earth’s oceans, fierce protectors of all who swim. For eons, the Big Blue has prospered under Shiver Law, and the delicate balance of sea life kept sacred. Until now.

Rising sea temperatures and overfishing have caused food to become scarce, and the battle for new hunting grounds has brought with it corruption and warfare.

Now, with the ocean on the brink of chaos, a young reef shark named Gray – exiled from the safety of his peaceful reef home – must venture deep into Open Water to unlock the secrets of his destiny and bring peace back to the ocean. But first, he’ll have to discover the truth about who – and what – he really is.

Note by Maha Khan Phillips

Dear Reader,

The idea for Beautiful from this Angle came to me while I was at a newsagents, trawling through the newspapers, in London. Every single headline screamed something negative about Islam, whether it was the Muslim taxi driver that refused to let a guide dog into his cab, or the burkha-clad teacher whose students could not understand her, or terrifying-terrorising mad extremists breeding equally terrifying-terrorising students who, the paper warned, would blow the British sky high. It struck me then, that there was a reason that all my foreign friends and family were convinced that in Pakistan we lived in the Dark Ages, that all women were silenced and oppressed, and that it was only men who could be evil. I decided it would be fun to turn the idea on its head, in a light-hearted manner, to look at the craziness that is the media and it’s approach to Islam and to Pakistan.

Beautiful from this Angle is a satire about three well heeled Karachi girls who film a fake documentary about an honour killing, anxious to cash in on Western stereotypes. Then a real terrorist is found where the documentary is filmed, and suddenly, the girls find fame. They each take a different path in response to what is happening around them.  In the novel, the  gullible Western media is taking advantage of people, but, equally, the media is being taken advantage of. The book is, I hope, funny, and dark. I hope that those who read it will find it so!

With best wishes


Maha will be reading from her book & signing copies at Liberty Books next week. Please click here for more details.


Author of the ‘Eye of the Predator’ sends a special note to readers in Pakistan via Liberty Books

Eye Of The Predator [a fictional account of the night they killed Baitullah] by Abhisar Sharma is a riveting, highly-informed conspiracy novel set in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US, It is an arresting account of an unlikely group of men who slept with the enemy in a desperate bid to fight the monster of Pakistan. In the following note the author shares his thoughts on the book in Pakistan.

I think this is the most exciting stage of “The Eye of the Predator” as it enters Pakistan. The entire thriller or chase takes place in Pakistan and I do feel that my readers in Pakistan will identify with the book more than anyone else in the world. For it was fascinating to write about a man who dies at the rooftop of his ‘SASURAL’, when a hellfire missile struck him when he was in a very delicate situation with his wife. As I dig deep into the story, through my sources in Pakistan I discovered fascinating aspects of the man termed as one of the two most influential men in Pakistan by the TIME magazine along with the Pakistani army chief, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the year 2008.

What really enamored me was this meeting that took place between Baitullah and someone really important in the AF-PAK region. This formed the crux of this edge of the seat thriller. I know its easy to paint the ISI in certain colors for an Indian, but I would like to make this very clear…that in my story…I have three agencies, the ISI, the CIA and the Afghan intelligence, all playing for their national interests. I have been to Pakistan more than twice and I have been a big fan of Pakistani writers like Ahmad Rashid, Mohammed Hanif , Imtiaz Gul and Tehmina Durrani. I have no qualms in accepting that had I not read Hanif (former colleague with the BBC) Tehmina Durrani and Khalid Hosseini, I  would never have become an author. So blame them if you have to. Jokes aside, I am proud of my labour of love and I hope that my readers in Pakistan will be able to absorb my passion through this book. I will always be fascinated by Pakistan (my mother seriously believes that I was born in Pakistan in my previous birth) and the events that are taking place. Its really amazing to see the impact of these events on the journalist and authors of Pakistan. My second book “Edge of the Machete”( set in Khyber) is also ready and I hope to release it as soon as the Predator strikes and strikes big.

I can only say that fasten your seat belts and enjoy the read (ride)

God bless



Eye of the Predator is now available at Liberty Books stores & all leading book stores in Pakistan. The book is also available for order online here.