The Buddha of Suburbia is the debut novel by Pakistani-British writer Hanif Kureishi. First published in 1990, the story follows Karim, a mixed-race teenager living in South London. The story takes place in the 1970s, a time of radical change in...
Hanif Kureishi was born on December 5, 1954 in London, England. Kureishi is half-Pakistani (on his paternal side) and half-British (on his maternal side). His father was from an upper-class family that migrated to Pakistan following the Partition of British India in 1947. Kureishi's parents met while working at the Pakistani embassy. Kureishi was raised in Bromley, a neighborhood in southeast London. After high school, Kureishi went on to study at Bromley College of Technology. He has stated that some of the characters in The Buddha of Suburbia were inspired by individuals he encountered during his time at college. He later went on to complete his studies at the University of Lancaster and at Kings College, London.
Kureishi began his career as a pornography writer in the 1970s. He also worked as a playwright and wrote for esteemed theater companies in London. In 1985, he gained recognition for his feature-film screenplay, My Beautiful Laundrette. For his work, Kureishi was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. He has published nine novels to date—his first being The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and his most recent being What Happened? (2019). His works have been adapted for television, theatre, and film.
Kureishi has faced controversy over the semi-autobiographical nature of his works. Kureishi's sister, Yasmin, published a letter in the British daily newspaper The Guardian about her brother's "exploitative" writing style. For his work as a writer, Kureishi was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008—a British order of chivalry that rewards national contributions to the arts and sciences. Kureishi has worked as a creative writing professor at London's Kingston University. He currently lives in London, and he has two sons.