Name: London Shah
Asian background: South Asian Pashtun
What is it about your experience and upbringing that inspired you the most to write?
Like almost every child, I found escape in the stories I read (mostly silly ones that made me laugh!). And I can’t recall a time when I didn’t enjoy writing my own. But growing up, I never—not once—read a single story where the MC was a Muslim. And still, to this day, the absolute lack of Muslim representation in British SFF is astonishing and utterly shameful. The Light at the Bottom of the World is the first science-fiction novel to star a British Muslim main character, and the first science-fiction or fantasy narrative to star a lead of British Pashtun ethnicity. I’m simultaneously appalled and honoured by this knowledge.
Name 3 authors and 3 books
S K Ali and LOVE FROM A TO Z
Kat Cho and WICKED FOX
Sona Charaipotra and SYMPTOMS OF A HEARTBREAK
What do you think is the best quality a writer can have?
To see their idea through. To have the passion and ruthless determination and endless patience required to take the vision in their head and bring it to life. To carry it through all the doubts (especially those arising from the state of the industry if they’re a PoC author) and obstacles and research and time constraints, until they’ve created something they feel does that idea proud.
Any last words? (Fun facts, comments, something you’d like to share with the world, etc.)
Possibly not what you had in mind, but I’ll burst if I don’t say this: Please check in with any elderly neighbours you might have as we continue through this tough time. So many of them aren’t technologically-minded and so don’t even have virtual company. They may feel they’re bothering us if they say anything. There are so many who are incredibly lonely, and in need right now. Please, if you can, ensure those who don’t have somebody helping, have enough groceries etc. Please don’t assume someone is taking care of them—check to be sure. *Falls off pulpit*
Challenge: Write a one-sentence story!
Mehmuna closed her eyes upon sight of the burning hut, covered her face against the ashy breeze taunting the village now, and silently howled for the fated loss of her own soul.