IWD 2024: Pakistani Women Breaking Boundaries In Publishing

The publishing industry in Pakistan has been undergoing a quiet change with more females entering and blazing the way ahead.

IWD 2024: Pakistani Women Breaking Boundaries In Publishing

It's no secret that being a woman in Pakistan is hard. The trial and tribulations, obstacles and hurdles, misogyny and sexism, suppression and oppression, limited opportunities and stolen chances define the existence of anyone who identifies as female. Still there are stories of resilience and pushback and what better than if it is done through the written word? The Pakistani publishing industry has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts with more and more women entering not just as authors but as publishers too, and at times as both. Here are some of them who have quietly been making waves of change:

1. Taiba Abbas

Founder of the Lahore based publishing house Ala Books and co-author of 'The Night In Her Hair', Taiba has been one of the strongest and loudest voices when it comes to Gaza. Her questioning of the international community's silence, advocacy for recognition of Palestinian suffering culminated in a publication titled 'Who Will Speak For The Men Of Gaza?'

2. Aisha Sarwari 

Aisha Sarwai is the author of 'Heart Tantrums and Brain Tumours.' A detailed memoir of her life growing up in Uganda, finding love in the US and coming into her own in Pakistan all the while engaging in battles that fought social behaviour, all of which ultimately formed the foundation upon which she has built her life. A brave account, she owns her truth with the realisation of all that she has risked and finds her strength in knowing she is the one who has told her own story. 

3. Kiran Malik

Kiran Malik is the founder of Markings Publishing. Markings is Pakistan’s premier publishing house renowned for its exquisite coffee table books and exceptional publications, was honoured with four awards at the 2023 Gourmand Awards in Riyadh. Competing against 198 countries, Markings has already distinguished itself by being a five-time winner since 2014 and representing Pakistan at a global platform through the premier cookbook recognition authority.

4. Mina Malik

Mina is one half of Lahore-based The Peepul Press (co-founder is Hassan Tahir Latif). Reviving Lahore's literary legacy, the Peepul Press has been engaging with bringing back the magic of magazine through a print magazine for young people called Risala. The Peepul Press recently hosted a craft workshop series called ampersand with support from the British Council, and kickstarted their salon talks with Indian author and historian Aanchal Malhotra and poet Fatimah Asghar. Opening its doors to the literary community, the Peepul Press is what Lahore has needed and who better than to have a press in the heart of Anarkali at the helm?