Manzu Islam bw photo
Place of birth
Bangladesh
Place of residence
United Kingdom
National identity
United Kingdom
Bangladesh
DOB
Gender
Male

Manzu Islam

Short biography
Manzu Islam was born in 1953 in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) where he lived through the 1971 war, walking the swamps for weeks to reach the refugee camps in India, then returning to fight as a freedom fighter. He came to England as a political refugee and, after studying for a degree and working as a racial harassment officer in East London, he became interested in writing.

Manzu Islam was born in  East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) where he lived through the 1971 war, walking the swamps for weeks to reach the refugee camps in India, then returning to fight as a freedom fighter. He came to England as a political refugee and, after studying for a degree and working as a racial harassment officer in East London, he became interested in writing. He has a doctorate and taught at the University of Gloucestershire, specialising in postcolonial literature and creative writing. He has written four earlier books including The Mapmakers of Spitalfields (1997), an anthology of short stories set both in Bangladesh and the East End, Burrow (2004) about an illegal immigrant in East London and The Song of our Swampland (2011).

His writing grows out of his memories of Bangladesh and the experience of working as a racial harassment officer in East London at the height of the National Front provoked epidemic of ‘Paki-bashing’ which terrorised the lives of many Bangladeshis and other Asians in the area. Experiences from these years fed into the stories in The Mapmakers of Spitalfields, which reflect both the trauma of racism, but also the creativity and achievement of Bangladeshis remaking their lives in Britain. Equally, the stories that reflect on memories of Bangladesh focus both on the bloody atrocities of the civil war which brought Bangladesh independence from Pakistan and of a rich culture which sustains the exiled imagination in the deepest ways.

He is also the author of a non fiction book, The Ethics of Travel: from Marco Polo to Kafka (Manchester University Press, 1996) which explores the question: how is it possible for us to encounter those who are different from us - racially, culturally and geographically - and what are the consequences of such encounters?