Q & A with Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Soniah Kamal at her website:

ShadabZHashmi-198x300Can you tell us a little about your writing/revision process?

I write on an empty stomach. The first draft is hand-written in a slim notebook that I keep with me. I like to take a break before revising, so I have some distance from the work and I can be super-critical. I revise on the computer and I revise multiple times, typically with tea and almonds.

Any advice for a beginning writer?

Read a rich variety of works. Don’t ignore the voices in your head—they’ll never say anything unimportant to an artist. Be kind to yourself when writing and harsh when editing. I believe that “there is no great writing, only great rewriting.”

A favorite essay/memoir/short story on the topic of identity and borders?

Manto’s short story “Toba Tek Singh” is a classic. NovelsAli and Nino by Kurban Said and People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks explore identity in poignant ways. I find Ibtisam Barakat’sTasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood to be one of the most moving, beautiful memoirs dealing with identity and borders.

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