Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1975 and grew up in Paris, New
York and Bangkok, due to her father's career with UNESCO
Tahmima Anam attended Harvard University, where she earned a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology. In 2005 she completed an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, London, and is the recipient of a Writing Fellowship from the Arts Council of England. Anam's first book, A Golden Age is the first in a planned trilogy that brings to life the creation of her native country. A Golden Age was the winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. Anam lives in London and Dhaka.
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Tahmima Anam discusses her first novel, A Golden Age, set during the 1970s Bangladesh War of Independence
Did you always want to be a writer? You have a Ph.D. in social anthropology do
you ever consider returning to the academic world?
I wasn't a very devoted academicI found the idea of writing something that had to stick to a certain notion of truthfulness very difﬁcult. Anthropology is certainly the most literary of the social sciences, and yet one still has to adhere to a loose sense of "what really happened." I wanted a genre that would allow me to tell my readers something about what it was like to have lived through the Bangladesh war, something visceral and palpable. In this case, not having to stick to the facts really enabled that act of the imagination.
Having said all of that, I miss being part of an academic institution. I spent so many years in grad school that I now ﬁ nd myself feeling a bit lost when September rolls around and there aren't any classes to attend. And I love to teach, so perhaps someday I will teach creative writing.
Where do you write? Do you tend to follow a strict work schedule or write in spurts of activity?
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