My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. This is the Vladimir Nabokov quote you will find on Fatima Bhutto’s Twitter page. No mention of her mastery as a poet and author, beginning with Whispers of the Desert, a book of poetry that was published when she was (ahem) 15 years old. No mention either of her incredible education (BA from Columbia, Masters degree from University of London), her family’s political legacy in Pakistan, and the whisperings that she could (and should) very well run the country one day. Nope, she doesn’t mention that at all. Her most recent novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, gives a riveting glimpse into the struggles of contemporary Pakistan, woven through her characters who navigate their futures while both tethered to and honoring their rich cultural histories. In chatting with Fatima, she doesn’t lead with any of these noteworthy facets of who she is – rather, she gushes about her incredibly talented brother whose art and photography she adores. She speaks of a project in Kabul that her friends began, educating women and children. She speaks of substance. She speaks with purpose. And yet all of that is layered within a woman, who at 32 years old, has barely scratched the surface of what she will bring to this world. What an incredible privilege to have a candid TIG Talk with Ms. Fatima Bhutto
- My nickname is: Fati.
- The first thing I do when I wake up is: Wonder why I set my alarm so early.
- I can’t live without: Brothers. Mir Ali is ten years old and drinks coffee at night. Zulfi is twenty-three and a talented artist and photographer. They are both kind, compassionate and very, very funny.
- If I had one week to escape: Go to Kabul. It’s where I was born and I have never been back since, though I have wanted to for years. Something always gets in the way. It’s not safe, it’s not the right time, later – always later. I am a little bit from or attached to a lot of different places – Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and I have lived or traveled across all those countries but I am half-Afghan and have never been back. Two of my friends, the writers Bella Pollen and Christa D’Souza, have been working to raise money for the Marefat High School in Kabul for the last five years. It’s a brave project, educating not only young boys and girls but also includes adult literary classes for women. I would love to go out and visit them.
- If I only had $10 in my pocket: Go to Sunday Bazaar in Karachi and make off like a bandit in the used book section.
- Everything tastes better with: A lot of chilli.
Photos via: Portrait by Amean J