Anjum Hasan is the author of “Lunatic in my Head,” “Neti, Neti” and “Difficult Pleasures,” which has been shortlisted for The Hindu Literary Prize 2013. She is also a poet, and her debut collections of poems are titled “Street on the Hill.” Hasan’s short stories, articles and poetry have been widely published in Indian and international publications. Presently, she is the Books Editor at The Caravan magazine.
Ms. Hasan is presently a writer-in-residence at Jamia. She conducted a book reading and discussion at the department of English on Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. (Link). Jamia Journal interviewed her the following day.
Jamia Journal: What advice would you give to aspiring writers at Jamia?
Anjum Hasan: To aspiring writers at Jamia I would say, find a passion. That passion could be a writer you admire, it could be a theme such as translation, it could be a genre such as poetry or criticism. Find something that you love and become a votary for it. Being a writer is partly about writing and partly about developing a passion.
JJ: Can you tell us a story from your college years that you believe might have helped or contributed to your success as a writer?
AH: I was writing poetry in college and a well-known poet visited from Wales. I showed him my poems and he took them back with him and returned them after a few months with lots of markings and comments. No one had read my poems so closely before and taken so much interest in them. No one has been so critical about them either. I was both elated and shattered. It was the first writerly experience I had – the realisation that words and sentences have to communicate and can mean different things to different people. It was a difficult realisation and a good one.
JJ: What are the occupational hazards of being a writer?
AH: To say too much about the work rather than let the work speak for itself!
JJ: What is your everyday writing ritual?
AH: Nothing esoteric. It’s basically wake up in the morning, switch on the laptop and start writing.