Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14. His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia's regime.
His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him more than a decade to complete. Aslam has stated that the first chapter alone took five years to complete, and that the following story in the book took seven months to complete before rejecting it. At the end, he kept only one sentence of the seventy pages written. Aslam's latest novel, The Wasted Vigil, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September, 2008. It is set in Afghanistan. He traveled to Afghanistan during the writing of the book but had never visited the country before writing the first draft. On 11th February 2011, it was short-listed for the Warwick Prize For Writing.
His writings have been compared to those by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kiran Desai and received an Encore in 2005. He writes his drafts in longhand and prefers extreme isolation when working.
Aslam currently lives in north London.
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An Interview with Nadeem Aslam about
The Wasted Vigil
What made you choose Afghanistan as a setting for The Wasted Vigil
In 1992, when I finished my first novel I more or less tossed a coin to determine what book I would write next: my Afghanistan novel or my British-immigrant novel. Both subjects seemed equally urgenta bloody civil war had begun in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani immigrant community in Britain seemed well advanced on the path that would lead to the suicide bombings on July 7, 2005. I began to write Maps for Lost Lovers, my immigrant novel, and as soon as I finished it in spring 2003, I started work on The Wasted Vigil.
When in the 1980s, the USA and Saudi Arabia began funding and arming the Afghan mujahidin, my family and friends in Pakistan were among the people who warned about the dangers of giving billions of dollars worth of weapons to Islamic fundamentalists. The predicted horror was unleashed onto the people of Afghanistan soon enough, but it took decades for it to reach the wider worldon September 11, 2001 the consequences became apparent to everyone.
I wanted to explore and record all of that in The Wasted Vigil. Afghanistana crossroads of historyseemed an appropriate place to...
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