Hanif Kureishi wins Asian Achievers Outstanding Achievement Award

Hanif Kureishi CBE, Achievement in Media, Arts, Culture 3
Credit: PR Mediapix

Renowned literary giant, Hanif Kureishi was presented with The Asian Achievers Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts last week (September 19). The awards celebrate individuals who are responsible for bringing the South Asian community to centre stage. Kureishi was nominated in the Media, Arts and Culture category, beating off a strong list of nominees including dancer, Akram Khan and journalist, Samira Ahmed, to take home the award.

Kureishi’s career spans over 40 years and includes 7 novels, 2 short story collections, 10 screen/plays and 3 non-fiction works. His breakthrough screen-play directed by Stephen Frears My Beautiful Laundrette, saw him nominated for an Academy award. His first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia, won the Whitbread Award for best first novel, and was later made into a BBC series. In 2008 Kureishi was featured in The Times list  “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

Kureishi said:  ‘I’ve been writing novels, doing films, working in TV, bringing up my children, teaching, trying to make a living. It’s amazing! My father came to this country in the 40s and he said to me he thought that we could do well. Amazingly, actually I have, and many other people have as well which is fantastic.

‘As an artist, the only thing that matters is you’re your own person. You work as you have to and tell stories that you have to tell. You can’t tell stories someone else wants you to tell.’

As for any advice to new writers, Kureishi only had this to say: ‘I never realised quite how difficult it would be and what a nightmare it would be trying to be a successful writer. I managed to survive but I had no idea at the beginning how hard it would be.’

At the awards ceremony held at London’s Grosvenor House the awards sponsor Mr. CB Patel, Publisher of the ABPL Group, said: “Our winners at this year’s Asian Achievers Awards have truly reached remarkable heights of success and achievement, and it gives me great pride to celebrate these incredible individuals, who are no doubt exceptional role models for the next generation.”

Rt Hon Phillip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, paid tribute to the British Asian community: “There is much to celebrate in the contribution of British Asians made to our national life – be it in sports, in culture, in academia, in public service and in community life. But perhaps most strikingly and most dramatically in business and the professions where the British Asian community hunches well above its weight and produces some outstanding successes… the PM has asked me specifically to add his congratulations to all of you.”

The Asian Achievers Awards celebrate individuals who have inspired communities and achieved outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields. Since launching 14 years ago, The Asian Achievers Awards has helped raise millions of pounds for charity. This year, the chosen charity is the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.