By Sidra Arshad
Imagine having the chance to meet award winning novelist Mohsin Hamid, author of bestselling novel Exit West, well you have the chance to do so on September 25 in the Adler Athletic building. Hamid will be on campus to speak about his novel and answer questions that students and faculty have about his writing and career. I am very excited about meeting him, albeit a little nervous, and have already complied a small list of questions that I am interested in asking.
What made you want to become a writer?
In many Asian countries, especially in places like Pakistan or India, parents usually expect their children to have one of three career choices: doctor, engineer, or lawyer. Even My parents tried to give me a gentle nudge towards a career path in medicine. Because we are both of South Asian background, I really want to know what led Hamid to writing. And also, if his parents supported his choices initially because my parents weren't too keen on mine.
What made you want to write a book concerning such a relevant and controversial subject?
Having read Exit West, I want to discuss the different themes he addresses regarding human connection and acceptance in the life of an immigrant or refugee because these are topics that are very relevant in today's world. Being a child of immigrants, I understand what it means to live around people who I don't readily relate to on some levels and what it meant for my parents to leave behind their home in search of something better. Especially since my parents are from Pakistan, Hamid's home country, I want to know what led him to write a book about immigrants and refugees trying to find their place in a world that doesn't seem to want them.
If there is one thing you could change about the choices you've made, regarding the novel or any other aspect of your career, what would you change?
In my opinion, Mohsin Hamid has had a pretty successful career. But even with success, I believe anyone would still want to change something from the past. As someone who is considering going into a career with writing, I want to know if Hamid would want to change any decisions he made on his way to where he is today.
Regardless of how awkward I am going to be or even if I am going to be able to say anything when I actually meet him, being able to speak with someone like Mohsin Hamid is going to be pretty cool. I enjoy his writing immensely and the topics he chooses to center around. And if nothing else, we can relate over our common struggle to prove to our parents that a career in writing won't lead us to living in a box on the side of the road.