My current novel in progress, The Choosing, is set in the English countryside in a speculative present that tells the story of two young girls, posing as sisters, evacuated to a village during an unspecified state of emergency. The story is a narrative of escape and otherness across borders that is pitched against the backdrop of English nationalism and its calamitous nostalgia. My research reconsiders accounts of evacuation from the Second World War, migrants in Switzerland, state surveillance, and selective mutism.
A Small Fortune
My novel, A Small Fortune, was published by Riverhead (USA), Quercus (UK), and Editions Bourgois (France). It received the 2014 Parveen Shakhir Prize for Fiction (Pakistan), and was a 2015 runner-up for the Lecteur’s Prize at the Littératures Européennes, Cognac, France.
“Dastgir weaves a vivid and delightful saga about an extended family of Pakistani immigrants . . . It’s a wonderful story, set in an England that you might recognize only peripherally . . . This book is funny, poignant, true and sad, and I was enthralled.”
Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Rosie Dastgir’s unflinching examination of clashing cultures, priorities, loyalty and unintended consequences is an engaging and enlightening addition to the east-meets-west genre.”
Katherine Whitbourn, Daily Mail
“Dastgir is a terrifically economical and accessible writer: in 400 pages there isn’t a boring moment . . . a hugely enjoyable novel whose characters come to vibrant life on the page.”
Alastair Mabbott, Paperback of the Week, Glasgow Herald
“As the novel progresses in deftly evoked scenes and flashes of humor, Dastgir moves further and further into the man’s conscience, his reluctance to grapple with reality, and his very human knack of holding traditional convictions while letting them slide in his actions. When redemption comes, that small fortune plays exactly the proper role.”
Katherine Powers, Washington Post
“For [everyone] in this beguiling novel, culture, ideology, and even spiritual beliefs are trumped by the universal pull of family.”
Karen Holt, O, the Oprah Magazine
“Harris, a likable, middle-aged Pakistani émigré living in the North of England, immediately comes to life in the opening pages of this charming debut novel . . . An absorbing conclusion reveals Dastgir’s talent, heart, and clear knack for pulling it all together.”
“Towering above all this is the humanity of all the characters, major or minor . . . A finely-etched portrait of the immigrant life, peopled by characters whom you can touch and feel, sharing their sense of achievement and loss that is inevitable in setting up a home away from one’s own cultural moorings.”
Utkal Mohanty, Deccan Herald
“Dastgir is particularly perceptive about first-generation immigrants’ preoccupations with minute class signifiers . . . Her screenwriting flair shines through in the deft jump-cuts between Lahore, Whitechapel and Yorkshire, and the arresting images of London’s urban decay.”
Anna Travis, Times Literary Supplement
Selected short stories
A Brief History of the Carrot, a short story for the anthology ‘Desi Delicacies’ (Picador India, and Beacon Books), 2021.
Looking Back, a short story for the anthology ‘Let Me Know When You’re Home’ (Dear Damsels), 2021.
The Heads’ Lament, a chap book featured in ‘About the Heads,’ an exhibition of paintings of eighteenth-century stone heads, commissioned by the University of Greenwich at the Old Royal Naval College, 2019.
Essay on The Heads' Lament for Spitalfields Life, 2019.
Runaway, published in ‘Beyond the Border,’ (Dahlia Publishing, 2014), an anthology of
British Asian women’s writing, 2014.
The Hades Hotel, a short story for Spitalfields Life, 2013.
Screenplays & audio
Bevan's Baby, a docu-drama play about the NHS, read at the Arcola Theatre, 2014.
Love at Last Sight, a radio drama for BBC Radio 3's The Verb, 2014.