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Robin Yassin-Kassab

Posts Tagged ‘Muneeza Shamsie

In Dawn

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As an apology for not posting anything for so long, I’m putting up this interview with me conducted by Muneeza Shamsie and published in Pakistan’s Dawn. There are a couple of inaccuracies: I spent a year and a few months in Pakistan in the early 90s, not two years, and it’s mainly been book reviews rather than political analysis that I’ve contributed to British newspapers.

Novelist, editor and journalist, Robin Yassin-Kassab has worked and travelled around the globe — in England, France, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Oman and Pakistan. But his travels beyond Europe began with Islamabad. He arrived in the 1990’s at the invitation of a Pakistani friend and stayed for two years working as a journalist for an English daily. This winter he returned to Pakistan to conduct creative writing workshops at the Karachi Literature Festival and spoke with passion on the Arab Spring and the political situation in Syria.

In his critically acclaimed novel, The Road from Damascus (2009), Yassin-Kassab discusses multiculturalism, racism and radicalisation in Britain and the larger conflicts in the Middle East through the portrayal of Sami, a British Syrian, and Muntaha, his Iraqi-born wife. The novel examines debates between religious and secular concepts of Arab nationhood and comments on the use of state terror by totalitarian regimes.

During a trip to Damascus, Sami discovers an uncle who had been the victim of prolonged imprisonment and torture. Deeply disturbed, Sami returns to his wife but retreats from their matrimonial tensions, disappears from home and falls into rapid decline. The narrative builds in London in the aftermath of 9/11 and talks about Muntaha’s traumatic childhood, including her escape to Britain from Iraq with her father and brother.

Yassin-Kassab now lives in Scotland and contributes political analyses to The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and Prospect Magazine among others. He co-edits the website PULSE and the journal The Critical Muslim. He is working on his second novel.

Here he talks to Books&Authors about his novel, the writing process and the evolving situation in the Middle East.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

June 29, 2012 at 10:19 am

Posted in Pakistan

Tagged with , ,