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Reporting and analysis

February 05, 2011

"For me, a boycott can be a useful thing if it is in the context of some overall international sanctions regime that is changing a country, as in the case of apartheid South Africa. But in Sri Lanka’s case, it doesn’t strike me that a literary festival boycott will do anything. The second thing is that obviously there are human rights and freedom of speech issues in Sri Lanka, but the same is true of India. And no one is boycotting the World Voices festival in New York because of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq."

October 14, 2010

"I was worried about making an issue that would fall into all the representational traps that Pakistanis feel and that you see in the media. On the other hand, when we ask people to write we don't always tell them what to write about, and in some ways I feel that's the way to get the truest representation of the country. And literature is not a direct representation of life or reality, it's a refraction. It magnifies the anxieties of people who live in a country beyond what they actually are, but it's a way of turning that into narrative and drama.

It's a catch 22 for many [Pakistani writers] because it is in some ways what makes them marketable. I think they write about it because they're deeply concerned, but to be marketed based on something that's very close to your heart and very serious raises all sorts of questions."

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