Writing in a Foreign Tongue – Transcript

Series nameMiscellaneous

This document is a transcript of one of Attia Hosain’s BBC programmes for the world service. In ‘Writing in a Foreign Tongue’, Hosain speaks about the paradoxes involved in writing in a foreign language, because although Urdu was her mother tongue, she chose to write in English. In particular, Hosain explains how she found it difficult to translate certain thoughts and sentiments from Urdu into English, especially in dialogues or when referring to particular cultural and social customs. Hosain was very rooted in her own culture and learnt Arabic, Urdu and Persian at a young age. However, she was also taught English since she was three and her formal education took place mainly in English and French.

Date of Creation / Publication1956
CreatorHosain, Attia
Associated Person/ Organisation
Collection and Reference NumberAttia Hosain Collection (GB 2661 AH)
Catalogue NumberAH/MISC/1
CopyrightThe Creator and/ or associated person or organisation where applicable
Access to originalsThe originals are located with the Literary Estate of Attia Hosain.
Series notesThe Miscellaneous section features transcripts from Attia Hosain's years at the BBC in London. She was a prominent speaker and presenter on popular shows on BBC Radio from 1949 until the early 1970s. She presented in Hindi for the India Service, in Urdu for the Pakistan Service and in English for the regional broadcasts. We have also included a short tribute piece to Attia Hosain written by her dear friend and fellow writer, Mulk Raj Anand. Together, they were affiliated to the Progessive Writers Movement in India, a group of socialist writers and artists.
Collection notesThe material from the Attia Hosain collection consists of items relating to her publications, such as extracts from her novel and her collection of short stories, biographical information such as photographs, and miscellaneous items such as transcripts from BBC broadcasts she made and letters.