I spent a few days at FJWU early in January wishing there was a way to put my experience in my luggage so that I could concretely share it with those in the US who might be skeptical that such a public institution (a women’s one, no less!) could exist in Pakistan. I attended the International Conference on Gender, Social Sciences, and Humanities at Fatima Jinnah Women’s University (FJWU), jointly sponsored with the University of Texas, Austin. I gave the keynote address, “Mercy is as Mercy Does: Writing and Reading as a Novelist” which turned into an opportunity to talk about a few of the novels that moved me most in 2015.
In addition to being introduced to an incredibly vibrant intellectual community, I met several scholars doing fasinating work, including
Dr. Anoosh Khan, who heads Gender Studies at the University of Peshawar, Dr. Suriyya Chaudhry, a photographer who teaches Fine Arts at FJWU, Dr.Barbara Harlowe, Professor of English at University of Texas at Austin,
Dr. Saiqa Imtiaz Asif, Chair of English at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan. I was touched to share a special conversation with Dr. Naheed Zia Khan, Dean, FJWU, and receive a beautiful and treasured gift from her, fabric woven by Gulshan Bibi from Haripur.