A FARMER, lawyer, writer, and Pakistani-American, Daniyal Mueenuddin is something of a Renaissance man, who has experienced many different kinds of life in many different parts of the globe.
Daniyal was born in 1963 in Los Angeles to an American mother and Pakistani father. He was brought up between Lahore, Pakistan, and Elroy, Wisconsin. He spent most of his childhood in Pakistan on his father’s farm and he attended the Lahore American School. He recalls growing up on his father’s family farm as a “magical time” during which he enjoyed hunting.
Daniyal and his brother visited the US in the summers. At 13 his parents separated and the two boys moved back to the US with their mother. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he returned to Lahore to take over his aged father’s farm. After six years running the farm he moved back to the US to become a lawyer.
His desire to write about his experiences on the farm came to him while he was working as a corporate lawyer in Manhattan. Mueenuddin realised he held a unique position to relate his experiences on the farm to a western audience.
These stories of the “farm and the old feudal ways, the dissolving feudal order and the new way coming” inspired his story collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. After deciding to write the collection, he pursued a MLA in Creative Writing, and was soon published.
His first published story, Our Lady of Paris, appeared in Zoetrope All-Story in Autumn 2006. With the help of a literary agent, he proceeded to publish three further stories in The New Yorker, one of which was chosen by Salman Rushdie for the Best American Short Stories of 2008. His stories have since appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and the forthcoming PEN /O Henry Prize Stories 2010.
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Awards. In addition, it was selected among Time’s Top 10 books of the year, Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 books of 2009, The Economist’s Top 10 fiction books of 2009, and the best books of the year lists in The Guardian and The New Statesman.
He is married to Cecilie Brenden Mueenuddin, a Norwegian Arabist and Middle Eastern scholar.
Daniyal Mueenuddin will read in the Town Hall Theatre on Wednesday April 21 at 8.30pm as part of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Also reading will be Wicklow story writer Claire Keegan. For tickets contact 091 - 569777.