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Musharraf Ali Farooqi (born 26 July 1968, Hyderabad, Pakistan) is a Pakistani–Canadian writer, translator, and essayist. Farooqi was among the five writers shortlisted for Asia's most prestigious literary prize in 2012.[1] He is the Founder/Editor of URDU THESAURUS ( which is provided as a free educational resource featuring only synonyms. Planned features for versions include integrated Urdu-to-Urdu lexicons, bilingual dictionaries, and dictionaries of antonyms, idioms and proverbs.

Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Born (1968-07-28) July 28, 1968 (age 51)
Hyderabad, Pakistan



Farooqi received his early education in Hyderabad, at St Bonaventure's High School. He later attended Model School and College in Hyderabad, Sindh and, afterwards, NED University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi for three years, though he did not finish his degree.[2]

While working as a journalist in Karachi, he also started a small literary magazine called Cipher in collaboration with his friends, Azhar Ali Abidi and Zainab Masud. This was the period when he started writing stories in English, and simultaneously translating poetry from Urdu into English. His first translation was of a poem by the contemporary poet Afzal Ahmed Syed.[3]

Farooqi is the author of the novel Between Clay And Dust, which was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. His earlier novel, The Story of a Widow, was shortlisted for the 2011 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and considered for the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Rabbit Rap is a modernist fable for young adults. His children's books includes the collection The Amazing Moustaches of Moochhander the Iron Man and Other Stories, illustrated by Michelle Farooqi, which was shortlisted for the India ComicCon Award in the "Best Publication for Children" category, and the picture book The Cobbler's Holiday: or Why Ants Don't Wear Shoes.

Farooqi's translation of the 1871 version of Dastan-e Amir Hamza (Adventures of Amir Hamza) by Ghalib Lakhnavi and Abdullah Bilgrami was published in October 2007. He published the first book of a projected 24-volume translation of the world's first magical fantasy epic, Hoshruba,[4] in 2009. A selection from his translation of contemporary Urdu poet Afzal Ahmed Syed's poetry was published by the Wesleyan University Press Poetry Series in 2010.

In July 2016, after five years of development, he launched his latest project "The URDU THESAURUS", ( Through the Urdu Thesaurus website and app, over forty thousand unique words and phrases, and over twenty thousand sets of synonyms can be searched. Currently featuring only synonyms, its future versions will have integrated Urdu-to-Urdu lexicons, bilingual dictionaries, and dictionaries of antonyms, idioms and proverbs.[5]

His project Kahani Se Kitab Tak programme focuses on teaching Urdu language to children through stories in a graduated reading program. The programme aims to replace the current, failed method of teaching Urdu, and introduces children to the Urdu language, its classical literature, and our folklore through engaging, age-appropriate books. It is our hope that the time spent listening to and reading these stories will forever keep alive their interest in literature. This programme is already running successfully in two branches of the Lahore Grammar School, there is interest from many other schools in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Awards and honoursEdit

  • 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize, shortlist for Between Clay and Dust[6]
  • 2012 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for Hoshruba: The Prisoner of Batin, translated from the Urdu[7]
  • 2011 DSC Prize, shortlist for The Story of a Widow[8]
  • Harvard South Asia Institute Fellow
  • Member Board of Governors of the Archaeology and Literary Heritage Endowment Fund of the Government of Pakistan



  • Tik-Tik: The Master of Time – children's novel
  • Rabbit Rap (Viking/Penguin Books India, 2012) – an illustrated novel with art by Michelle Farooqi
  • Between Clay and Dust: A Novel (Aleph Book Company, 2012)
  • The Amazing Moustaches of Moochhander the Iron Man & Other Stories (Puffin India, 2011) – illustrated by Michelle Farooqi
  • The Story of a Widow (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008)
  • The Cobbler's Holiday: or Why Ants Don’t Wear Shoes (Roaring Brook Press, 2008)
  • Salar Jang's Passion (Summersdale Publishers, UK, 2002; HarperCollins India, 2001)



  • Singh, Jai Arjun, ed. (2011). "The Foot-Worshipper's Guide to Watching Maula Jatt". The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies Do to Writers. Tranquebar.
  • "The Poetics of Amir Hamza's World: Notes on the Ghalib Lakhnavi/Abdullah Bilgrami Version". Annual of Urdu Studies. 24: 89–97. 2009.
  • "Introduction to Tilism-e Hoshruba". Annual of Urdu Studies. 24: 71–88. 2009.
  • "The Simurgh Feather Guide to the Poetics of Dastan-e Amir Hamza Sahibqiran". Annual of Urdu Studies. 15: 119–167. 2000.


  1. ^ Musharraf Ali Farooqi shortlisted for Man Asian Literary Prize
  2. ^ Interview, in edition of 4 May 2008 of Dawn's Weekly Magazine, following up to the publication of Dastan-e-Ameer Hamza
  3. ^ My Voice Unheard Profile - MAF
  4. ^ Hoshruba
  6. ^ Alison Flood (9 January 2013). "Man Asian literary prize shortlist stages Booker re-match". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Announcing the 2012 PEN Translation Fund Grant Recipients". PEN American Center. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature Announced". DSC Prize. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 24 February 2013.

External linksEdit