Photo by Mark Pringle
The London-based Pakistani expat is a multi-tasking multi-talent who writes epic novels, risky nonfiction and columns and reviews for The Guardian. In 2009's Offence: The Muslim Case, she attempts to explain Muslim extremism. This year's A God in Every Stone is the epic tale of an Englishwoman archaeologist and Indian army officer set amidst the crumbling of empires during WWI. On Sep 16, Shamsie will reflect on the future of Karachi with a panel of Pakistani writers at 17:00. She’ll discuss the “storyteller’s road” at 19:30.
Three-word alliterative self-description:
(I wrote the three words in invisible ink, which is how most fiction writers should write about themselves.)
Why write: Because I always have. I wrote my first novel at the age of 11, and now my brain feels empty if I go too long without doing it.
When/where: During the mornings and early afternoons, when I’m starting a novel. At all times when I’m in the obsessed later stage. Usually in London. Sometimes in Karachi. Occasionally at the Santa Maddalena Writers’ Retreat in Tuscany.
Writing aids: Concentration. And I need to be looking out of a window.
Back-up plan: Being unhappy about not writing, I suppose. Unless I were a marine archaeologist, in which case I imagine I’d be happy.
How you'd like to be remembered: My concerns about myself don’t extend beyond my lifetime.
Shoe size: 39.