We are looking for Commonwealth citizens to share their views ahead of the 2024 Heads of Government Meeting. Sign up to take part

'Why Write Fiction' by Nadeem Aslam

Posted on 26/11/2013
By Commonwealth Foundation
"My intention always is to build a character from the ground up. To show you what the childhood was like, what his or her favourite colour is, what the favourite food is, what the school experiences were like, what the first job was, and then to take that character away and torture him. Then the reader will feel it because we have lived with that character for so long."
Nadeem Aslam

Nadeem Aslam spoke to Commonwealth Writers at the 2013 Hay Festival Dhaka about why he writes fiction, what insights the novel can give the reader, and the different viewpoints the form can capture. We felt that so much of what Nadeem said about the novel applies to the short story as well, and so we wanted to share it with you.

Nadeem-Aslam-hay-festival-dhaka-2013Nadeem is the author of three highly acclaimed novels: Season of the Rainbirds (1999), which won a Betty Trask Award; Maps for Lost Lovers (2005), which was a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Kiriyama Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC prize, and longlisted for the Booker Prize; and, most recently, The Wasted Vigil (2008). He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship. His latest novel, The Blind Man’s Garden, was published in 2013. Born in Pakistan, he lives in England.