Our Early Bird tickets are now on sale and the first round of speakers has been revealed. In this series we chat to these authors, artists and activists to get to know them a little better before they join us in October. This week we speak to author and memoirist Fatima Bhutto, who was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and grew up between Syria and Pakistan.
When and why did you start writing?
I started writing as a young child, I was enchanted by books and by writers from an early age. I knew very early on that writing was what I wanted to do. But it was a school poetry project that first consumed me, I was only around 12 or 13-years-old and it was all I could think about. The obsession began then. But as a career, I was 24 when I realised this dream I had carried since I could remember could actually be what I did in real life.
What’s the most extraordinary place your writing has taken you?
The Kalash Valley in Northern Pakistan. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anywhere as beautiful, as remote.
What issues and ideas are you hoping to explore during UWRF18?
It’s been nearly ten years since my first Ubud experience and I was so moved then by the multitude of voices, experiences and narratives that I encountered at the festival. I’m very happy to return and though my first visit was built around my non-fiction writing, it will be interesting to come back with a novel.
Who do you hope will be in the audience?
URWF had incredible audiences – erudite, sensitive and challenging and I hope that hasn’t changed since I was last there.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Never be afraid of work. That’s where writers are made – not in the moments of inspiration or the crafting of language, but in the sweat and the tears.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, what do you suggest they start with?
The Runaways. I worked on this novel for years and I’m one of those who believe that books are never finished, only abandoned, so it seems right to start with the latest book.
Early Bird tickets are on sale now. Save 20% on the 4-Day Pass with your Early Bird ticket, and receive a copy of the UWRF17 Bilingual Anthology of Emerging Indonesian Writing, available until the full program is announced from mid-August. What are you waiting for? Pick up your Early Bird now.