In the Light of What We Know (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2014) was published to international critical acclaim and won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Britain’s oldest literary prize, previous winners of which include Evelyn Waugh, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie and Cormac McCarthy. The novel won the inaugural Ranald MacDonald International Arts Prize and was shortlisted or long-listed for many other prizes. It was included in numerous end-of-year lists of best books and has been translated into many languages.
Zia is an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America, Washington DC, a Senior Fellow at the Kreisky Forum, Vienna, and has been appointed a 2017 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, and a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He was awarded the Michael & Nina Sundell and the James Silberman & Selma Shapiro Fellowships at Yaddo, and is a visiting professor in the low-residency MFA program in Fiction and Non-Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and elsewhere.
Born in rural Bangladesh, he grew up in London, first in a squat, then on a council estate (social housing), and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford University, and at Cambridge, Munich and Yale universities.