Hanif Kureishi

Active - 1985 - 2013  |   Born - Dec 5, 1954   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama, Crime

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

Hanif Kureishi's writings often deal with the darker aspects of human nature and the unseen struggles of those living on the fringes of society, and the Oscar-nominated screenwriter has earned a quite a reputation as a result of his ready willingness to tackle otherwise unmentionable issues. Born to an Indian father and English mother in London and raised in suburban Bromley, Kureishi sensed early on the casual racism that surrounded his family. He studied philosophy at London's King's College, and his interest in philosophical psychology led him toward the writings of Nietzsche, Freud, and Lacan, among others. Language and gender proved an endlessly fascinating issue for the burgeoning writer, and Kureishi's acute perception of his surroundings would be elemental in his unique portrayals of the painful everyday struggles overlooked by the majority of society. In 1976, Kureishi's first play, Soaking the Heat, made its debut at the Royal Court Theater Upstairs, and in the years that followed, The King and Me, The Mother Country, Outskirts, and Boarders eventually led to a position as a writer-in-residence at the Royal Court. Subsequent efforts Birds of Passage and Mother Courage solidified Kureishi's status as a respected playwright.

In 1985, Kureishi's screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette proved an early hit for British director Stephen Frears. An incisive story that dealt with racism in Thatcher-era London, Kureishi's script earned him Oscar and BAFTA nominations as well as a New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Screenplay. His past once again influenced his writing when he teamed with Frears for 1987's Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and when Kureishi stepped behind the camera himself to film London Kills Me in 1991. In 1993, Kureishi penned the miniseries The Buddha of Suburbia -- a direct reflection on his youthful experiences as an English-Indian growing up in London. The novel on which the series was based earned Kureishi the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel. Also that year, Kureishi's play Mother Courage hit the road on a mobile tour for the U.K.'s National Education department, and two years later, the author released his second novel, The Black Album. Kureishi's short story My Son the Fanatic was adapted for film in 1997, and the following year saw the publication of his third novel, Intimacy. As the new millennium approached, filmmakers were increasingly adapting his novels for the screen. After Kureishi wrote the screenplay for Mauvaise Passe, Intimacy went before the camera under the direction of director Patrice Chéreau. Proving that Kureishi's edge certainly hadn't dulled with age, his screenplay for the 2003 drama The Mother made audiences squirm more than ever as it detailed the sexual exploits of a 70-year-old single mother.

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