My debut book Karachi Vice, published by Granta, is a work of narrative non-fiction about Pakistan’s largest city.
I’ve also contributed chapters to a number of excellent anthologies (details below).
“Shackle expertly and empathetically leads the reader in … the book reveals a city, a people – and through them a country – with tremendous poise and the skills of a fastidious reporter.”—Daily Telegraph
Karachi. Pakistan’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis of 20 million people. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force, a place in which it pays to have friends in the right places and to avoid making deadly enemies. The lines between idealism and corruption can quickly blur.
It takes an insider to know where is safe, who to trust, and what makes Karachi tick. In this book, my debut, I explore the city in the company of a handful of Karachiites. Among them is Safdar the ambulance driver, who knows the city’s streets and shortcuts intimately and will stop at nothing to help his fellow citizens. There is Parveen, the activist whose outspoken views on injustice corruption repeatedly lead her towards danger. And there is Zille, the hardened journalist whose commitment to getting the best scoops puts him at increasing risk. As their individual experiences unfold, the book tells the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade: a period in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.
Duke University Press, 2023
In 2017 and 2018, I took part in a media fellowship with Columbia University. It was a cross-disciplinary programme bringing together journalists and academics to consider conceptions of gender-based violence in the global south. This volume is the result of the programme. My chapter explores the role of pre-existing frameworks in media reporting on gender-based violence.
This is an anthology of reportage about destitution in modern Britain, after over a decade of austerity. For my chapter on hunger, I spent several months interviewing people around the country about their struggles getting enough to eat, the shame of using food banks, and how the cost of gas is worsening everything.
This volume, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz, brings together writing from a diverse group of Muslim women. I contributed a personal essay about visiting Pakistan with my mother – the first time either of us had visitedher homeland in 20 years.
I contributed an essay to this collection of writing by young women. My piece, “Roti Kamana: stories of survival”, describes a visit to Islamabad’s Acid Survivors’ Foundation, where women try to recover physically and emotionally from this brutal assault.