The past month's been busy with readings and launches. Here are some screenshots taken by participants and organizers while I talk, oblivious to how unbecomingly the camera is watching me.
1. Saturday, November 7th. A conversation with Tamreez Inam, curator of IG's @readingpakistan, about my third novel The Geometry of God. Tamreez has the rare gift of being a gracious, welcoming hostess AND asking thoughtful, book-centered questions AND being as wonderful in writing (head on over to her page to read the review), all while championing so many other books. AND making it look easy!
Bonus: the results of the US presidential election were announced during the convo. Yep, he's fired.
2. Friday, October 23rd. It was my first time at the Islamabad Literature Festival, where I was thrilled to launch my fifth and newest novel The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali at a session titled "Every Detail Is Story" (from a chapter in the book). In case you missed it live, here's the recording (ignore the slight sound glitch at the start; it picks up): https://www.facebook.com/OxfordUniversityPressPak/videos/291016728556505
3. Thursday, October 15th. The launch of AGNI 92 was a special evening, as I haven't read from a short story before. Novels, yes. They're my first love. Short stories I've come to later in life. I've had to get over feeling like I'm cheating on my lover, by also coming to love the short form. This story, though fiction, draws from my life. I'd been trying to write it for years. Someone asked me if finally putting it down was liberating. No. It was necessary. Like life and death necessary.
The story, called "Now Pray: Notes on a Separation," set during the lockdown, is also about a family in lockdown from long before the pandemic. The questions asked at the launch were terrific, thanks to AGNI prose editors, Julia Brown and Jennifer Alise Drew. Watch it here: https://youtu.be/-3RD0qquqiA
"Now Pray: Notes on a Separation" featured recently in an article in Dawn by Claire Chambers about four women writers of color--myself, Zadie Smith, Arundhati Roy, and Elif Shafak--writing at least partly about the pandemic and the violence of our time. Chambers writers, "Out of the four pieces ("Now Pray: Notes ... ") is the richest and most multidirectional discussion of the pandemic, lockdowns and reopen protestors ... This devastating, lyrical piece reflects on the many forms of lockdown that immigrants have experienced for years, and how this year's shelter-in-place orders further complicate that. The narrator uses the second person to write to her elder sister who ... underwent a mental health crisis that never lifted ... This is the finest writing on mental illness I've read for ages." I'm so honored for this mention.
You can read my story in AGNI 92