Kamila Shamsie, Granta Best Young British Novelists 2013



it's very important to me how the sound of words works so when I'm writing I always try to stop and read everything else to get a sound of it because there are things that the I won't catch when you're reading off the page which the ear will catch so to sit in a booth reading my work aloud feels very familiar because it's it's what I do off the printed page it's strange to know someone will hear me reading out loud because there are inflections that I'll put into it which I know I want to be in there but I know that someone else who's reading it might might inflex a phrase differently so I feel I'm sort of guiding the reading in in doing sort of my version of how it would sound as the words on the page don't so when I got the call to say I was on the grounds list I was at home and at my desk and you know I got a call from John Freeman who's the editor of grant and of course you know whatever anyone might say all the writers knew that around this time grantor was making its decision so you know as soon as you hear John's voice you sort of think it can only be for this reason he's not gonna call me to say you're not on the list and yet you know until he quite gets to saying this is why I'm calling you don't want to jump the gun and believe it but it was wonderful you know I grew up in in Karachi and my mother used to subscribe to grantor it arrived from London you know every few months and sometimes it wouldn't arrive because the mail would go astray and that would be a terrible thing and so I you know I grew up on the other side of the world with with Grant says this kind of lodestone of publishing so it was you know it's pretty fantastic so my story Viper's is about a man from Peshawar in 1915 British India and he's serving with the 48 buttons at Ypres and I was interested in the idea of these Indian soldiers serving the first world war I'm so dimly aware of them and as I was researching the city of Peshawar and what was happening the early 20th century somewhere and I don't actually remember where this happened but I came upon a reference to these soldiers who had been been fighting in the war and there's actually a very famous or do novel by man code abdullah hussein which deals with with first world war Indian fighters so it is part of so the Urdu Canon of literature and I just became interested in it in the idea of these men who went so far away into the most horrific wartime conditions for a country they didn't know for people who didn't look like them or speak their language and it was it was a story that really interested me and and then I had read a book of letters which is Indian voices from from the Great War and to read these men writing home about their experiences was extraordinary thing

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