Interviews

Radio interview for Coffee Republic with Aysha Raja

CityFM89, Pakistan, February 2014

A British novelist visiting Pakistan for the third time sees a considerable increase both in security and militarisation in the country and terms it depressing. However, she says, something good about the country is that it has not succumbed to the external forces and it has not got westernized.

The Dawn, Pakistan, February 2014

“In her essay on writing, in the New York Times, the writer Jhumpa Lahiri says, ‘For surely it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time.’ It is a bold statement, and yet it touches something that compels me to write; the need to anchor experience, to shape a story that is inchoate until it is marshalled into words, sentences, paragraphs upon a page.”

W3 Sidecar, June 2013

“I’m fascinated by characters who are adrift, slightly at the fringes of things, trying out different ways of being in the world; and Alia is all that, and more. Many 19 year olds lead compartmentalized lives; it’s an essential part of growing up, and forging an identity that is separate from your parents, and yet it’s often regarded as somehow aberrant.”

The Asian Writer, July 2012

Yet London feels much safer – and more welcoming – than it used to when Dastgir was a child. “This is going to sound very strange, but it seems to me, coming back, that there are a lot more foreigners than there used to be. A cabbie was complaining about it last night to me, and it’s kind of depressing to hear some people talk the same way they did 10 years ago. But on the whole, I think London is more multicultural, more diverse and less ghettoised than New York. It really does feel like home.”

London Evening Standard, February 2012

“It’s not a message-driven book but I wanted to show a world that was full of complexity, humour and contradiction . . . Harris is based on my father and those who knew him will recognise that . . . I was very close to my Dad and had a lot of sympathy for his predicament of leading two different lives.”

Eastern Eye, February 2012

“The story was inspired by being in Whitechapel and the characters I met there,” she admitted to me as we walked down Brick Lane together, hunched up against the cold, with the minaret looming overhead, “I took a trip to Pakistan with my father in the 1980s and then later – after he died – at the time of 9/11, I wondered what he would have made of the changes in the Islamic world.”

Spitalfields Life, February 2012