Categorized | Interviews

Immigration, Sexuality, Loss and Redemption: Themes of Farzana Doctor’s Novels

Posted on 20 January 2012 by admin

Toronto-based author and social worker, Farzana Doctor’s first novel is called “Stealing Nasreen”. It received wide acclaim from the Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire, and NOW Magazine. “Six Metres of Pavement” is her second novel. She has also co-written a manual for therapists and was part of the video collective that produced the documentary, “Rewriting the Script”.

GN: Why did you feel the need to take to writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, although it was a sporadic thing until I took a writing course about twelve years ago. During that course, I wrote the first draft of the first chapter of my first novel, Stealing Nasreen. After that, I couldn’t stop (it’s an addictive process) and over the years, writing has become more dominant in my life.

GN: How has writing impacted your outlook and life?

As I claimed more time and space in my life for writing, I realized that being a writer is really important to me. I rearranged my budget, schedule and the rest of my work life to accommodate it. I feel fortunate to have “found” the joy of my life.

GN: A lot of good literature is coming from South Asians these days. What would you attribute this to?

I think there was always good literature coming from South Asia. Perhaps we hear more about it now (in Canada) because of globalization and the internet?

GN: What is your view of Canadian South Asian literature?

South Asians make up the largest immigrant population in Canada and so it makes sense that we have a large number of excellent writers here in Canada too.

GN: What issues do you wish to talk about through your writing? Why are these important to you?

I begin writing through story, setting, character. That is, I don’t necessarily start with issues. However, as a political person, the issues do come through. In both of my novels, I’ve addressed issues of diasporic South Asians, immigration, sexuality, loss and redemption.

GN: What do you think about Canada’s multicultural claim?

Which one? I think the government promotes a lot of myths about immigration, immigrants and multiculturalism. In the end, it’s all of us who create vibrant communities, who work together toward social justice and change. That said, I love living in Toronto, where (despite our regressive Mayor) diversity is thriving.

GN: How has the diaspora experience impacted your writing?

We came to Canada in 1971. I was a baby of new immigrants. I think I soaked up my parents’ experiences, values, struggles and it comes through in my characters.

GN: What can we expect from you in the days to come?

I’m still promoting my second novel Six Metres of Pavement and am planning to go to India in the spring– both my novels are going to be launched there by Rupa, which I’m so excited about. I’m also working on my third novel, which is inspired by my love/hate relationship with monogamy and all inclusive resorts.

By Staff Writer

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