01/20/2018, 09.49
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'By the Moors’, the new book by Pakistan’s youngest Christian writer

by Shafique Khokhar

Anee Muskan is 18 and lives in Lahore with her parents. The text is a collection of stories and poems. The author defines herself as a "book addict". Her family’s example; "competition" with her brothers. Persevering in reading and writing just like training one’s muscles.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - "By the Moors" is the new book by Anee Muskan, 18, the youngest Christian writer in Pakistan. She is from Stuntzabad, a Christian village in southern Punjab and in 2002 moved with her parents to Lahore. She has been writing since she was 12 and, despite her young age, has an inexhaustible "thirst for books" that has led her to read more than 200 novels.

The book "By the Moors" offers a perspective of her interiority. It is a collection of stories and poems. Anee is proud of being a Christian. She is the youngest daughter of Ataurehman Saman, writer, human rights activist and coordinator of publications of the National Commission for Justice and Peace [of the Pakistani Episcopal Conference, ed.]. Below is the interview that the young woman gave to AsiaNews, at her book launch.

Why is your book titled "By the Moors"? What does it mean?

It was actually named “by the moors” after one of my poems. One of the uncanny poems I’ve ever written. In literal context it means by the barren, unfertile, stranded land. And it actually defines my book perfectly. Hovering over different barren lands in my life how I’ve come to this very point. Barren lands are not real big crisis but as a teenager any little yoke on our shoulders can be huge burden. That burden can even be waking up in the morning.

Tell me about your book. When did you start writing it?

Well this book “by the moors” to be honest is merely a compact form of my thoughts. As I was just 14 when I started it, it has parts where you’ll feel its childish like there are different chowder mandates but overall I expect it to be a source of entertainment and the story how I started it is written in my book but I can give you a low highlight that my father had bribed me a lot to write it.

I heard you love to read. How would you define this passion?

I’ve an unquenchable thirst for books and over the past few years I’ve turned into a book addict. I guess the difference between a book addict and a person who reads is same as the difference between a person who drinks and an alcoholic. One merely drinks but one has to drink to make it through the day.

Do you have any other books in the pipeline?

Yeah I actually have a lot of stuff collected in my mind for my second book. There’s way more stuff just need to be organized and stated correctly.

Which aspect of the book do you like best?

I used to like the monstrous creature the most but now I like the latest poem I added in my book called “I wanna be your David”. It’s one of the most precious things I’ve ever written. It took me a lot of time to align the ideas and the things I know about King David.

What role did your family have in this book?

I owe everything to God and my family. My family is one of the reasons I’ve been able to write this entire book. My sister has been my muse for many poems. My father and my mother are the people I got this talent from. My brother used to write poems and I used to envy him so much that one day I started writing poems but I’m still not even close to him.

Being the daughter of an author, someone would say that it was already in your blood, so you didn’t really have to try. What would you say about it?

I love being linked to my father as his an amazing writer I can never write something close to him. Being honest I was inherited with this interest to write. And by the grace of almighty and my father’s help I’ve read a lot to flourish my talents. I’m still striving to get the best out of it. But people who think I woke up one day and started writing are wrong. I’ve invested my time in my talents and still am.

You are among the youngest Christian writers. How does it feel?

I must be honest: the word "writer" still makes my heart jump. And for me it is an honor to be among the youngest Christian writers. It is exciting to be recognized as such.

What advice do you want to give to other writers?

It’s a sad truth that young writers like us don’t have many platforms to flourish us or nourish us. We don’t get much ways like writers conference or promoting writers thing here but I would encourage all the young writers to keep writing cause maybe you don’t know but one day you will know that even writing a single sentence you are writing today is going to help you a lot in future. The alignment of ideas is the hardest thing to get and It comes by constant writing practice. Like working out helps building muscles writing and reading helps in becoming a better writer.

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