Politics of Right to Write and Monica Ali’s Fiction


  • A.F.M. Maswood Akhter, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh


The Brick Lane-writer Monica Ali’s status as an ethnic icon – an image so hyped by the white media – automatically curbs her creative freedom of representation and confines her to ghettoes. Consequently, Ali’s other pieces are ignored, not because of their lesser literary merit but for their author’s treading into “not-permissible†grounds, that is, “non-ethnic†materials. The audiences back home and within diaspora, on the other hand, tend to consider this Dhaka-born writer just as one more outsider having no legitimacy to deal with them, and they even voiced their outrage in London streets against Brick Lane (2003) for depicting what they considered a “shameful†portrait of them. They question her right to write about “home†just as the West could not appreciate the European or American settings and characters in her later books. Ali, on her part, however, claims to have disowned these licensing authorities in a bid to safeguard her writerly discretion. Brick Lane thus becomes the metaphor that embodies the poetics and practices of this intricate, intriguing politics in which the hegemonic publishing industry in the West along with the grinding U.S.-U.K. review machine (of The New York Times, The Guardian and so on) has rather a decisive role to play.


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Author Biography

A.F.M. Maswood Akhter, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh

Dr. Maswood Akhter is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. He graduated from the University of Dhaka, and completed his doctoral research at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India. He is interested in New Literatures in English, especially fictional narratives from the South Asian Diaspora on which he has published several papers in reputed journals. At present he is working on two projects: editing a collection of essays around postcolonial issues, and compiling an anthology of Bangladeshi Literature in English. 


How to Cite

Akhter, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, A. M. (2014). Politics of Right to Write and Monica Ali’s Fiction. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 6(1), 95–112. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/239