Lifting the Veil

Lifting the Veil

Introduction by the winner of the 2018 Women's Prize for Fiction Kamila Shamsie


'Gloriously provocative... female sexuality within a patriarchal world is Chughtai's central concern' Kamila Shamsie, winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018, from the introduction

Lifting the Veil
is a bold and irreverent collection of writing from India's most controversial feminist writer. These stories celebrate life in all its complexities: from a woman who refuses marriage to a man she loves to preserve her freedom, to a Hindu and a Muslim teenager pulled apart by societal pressures, to eye-opening personal accounts of the charges of obscenity the author faced in court for stories found in this book.

Wickedly funny and unflinchingly honest, Lifting the Veil explores the power of female sexuality while slyly mocking the subtle tyrannies of middle-class life. In 1940s India, an unlikely setting for female rebellion, Ismat Chughtai was a rare and radical storyteller born years ahead of her time.

'Ismat Chughtai is known for her iconoclastic, feminist writings which explored the inner workings of women's lives' Huffington Post


  • Enlightened, bold, iconoclastic, progressive and feminist... Chughtai's style makes reading a delight

About the author

Ismat Chughtai

Ismat Chughtai was Urdu's most courageous and controversial woman writer of the twentieth century. She was the first Indian Muslim woman to earn both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor's in education degree. She began writing in secret due to violent opposition from her family, and many of her works were banned for their fiercely feminist content. Her most celebrated short story, The Quilt, which is included in this publication, was brought to court on charges of obscenity for its suggestion of homosexuality. Ismat Chughtai refused the court's request to apologize for the story, and eventually won the case. She died in 1991.
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