National Book Foundation publishes Pakistan’s first fantasy book

Published: June 5, 2018
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PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: Emerging lawyer-cum-author Faran Kiani claims to be the first young-adult (YA) fantasy adventure writer to be published by the National Book Foundation of Pakistan (NBF). He self-published his second novel Five Wishes and the Prophecy of the Prince last year and the book has now been picked up by NBF Pakistan for further publication and distribution.

Five Wishes and the Prophecy of the Prince, written in a modernised Shakespearean style mixed with contemporary musicals, is about the fight between “good and evil” and revolves around the five fairies who are beautiful but lazy and entitled.

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Speaking with The Express Tribune, Kiani said he was ecstatic getting his work read by a wider audience. “It was a magical moment when I got to know that I am finally being published by NBF. That feeling of being recognised for something is unparalleled,” he said. “I have been trying to promote this kind of young adult literature in Pakistan. Not many write these kind of books here and even fewer get published because of a lack of platforms.”

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Before NBF re-published it in April, Kiani sold Five Wishes and the Prophecy of the Prince online himself. He has sold over 1,000 copies so far, since self-publishing it last year. The young Rawalpindi-based author has visited schools to promote his book too. “I did everything on my own. It took years and years to get to this. It’s difficult to get noticed, you see. Can you believe there are no literary agents in Pakistan and just a few institutes?” he lamented. “And then, there isn’t a big audience who’s interested in reading such books. The literature circle is struggling in Pakistan.”

But despite the hurdles, he intends to continue writing. “I’ve got an entire series planned. I’m currently writing the sequel to Five Wishes and the Prophecy of the Prince,” Kiani revealed.

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His story is relatable because, like many struggling writers, he’s young, passionate and unwilling to give up on his dream. He works a full-time job as a lawyer and once home, takes care of his mother, who’s been ill and bed-ridden for years. In fact, in an earlier interview, Kiani had revealed that he wrote his first novel Kiva – The Hidden Kingdom while in the hospital with her. He published that book on Amazon.

In a way, Kiani has inherited the fighting spirit from his mother. With that, the author’s ambition goes beyond just publishing novels. “The goal is to make a multimedia franchise with books and films of this series,” he shared. “It hasn’t been done before in the subcontinent and our industry could be the first to go for it. It can be a phenomenon because I believe in the idea. If endorsed and executed right, there is a lot of potential in it. But sadly, no one is interested so far.”

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Kiani said he has approached a couple of top channels and production houses here who seemed interested in the beginning but then backed out eventually.

Five Wishes and the Prophecy of the Prince is available at over 40 NBF outlets and other bookstores across Pakistan.

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