Kate Adie in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith

Kate Adie
in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith

I joined in as a junior correspondent, being slotted from 8pm to 8am. One day I was called in to fill for a senior correspondent and as a good junior I filled in and that's how I got on the show. My friends and family keep telling me Just hang in there, you'll get your chance.

I never intended to go into journalism, I never thought about doing it. It's a very different world. I have always been very candid about how I got into it. The organisation I got into was big.

Television is about the sound bite. I concentrated on people. The world is full of the most amazing people and they have within them some absolutely exciting stories.  You learn to cope up with all business on-air. It's your job to put things what people say, on-air. I learnt a lot from local radio.

Why does China affects you?

I was the 8th reporter to be flown into China by BBC. What I saw was that people weren't demonstrating for democracy but more freedom and rights. The demonstrations went on for three months but they were completely non violent and utterly peaceful. But of course the government didn't like this, because it threatened the Communist regime.

When they ordered Army to tackle the demonstrators, it was a Terrible scene. There were thousands of innocents, some passer-bys, who were confronted by fully armed soldiers firing mercilessly.

There is a moment of fear for Journalists, but I knew THIS IS BIG. There is a sense of responsibility as a journalist, to do your best, to rise to the occassion. The army continued the rampage from midnight to 5 in the morning intimidating and drove everyone away from Tinamin Square. You realise it was momentous and terrible. How can a country use it army to attack its own people?

In places where life is difficult, you have to take decisions about risk. It was hell, horrible, upsetting, tragic, decent and innocent people were killed. You know what you got to do is to go as far as you can to see what is happening, verify what's going on.

But most importantly, you've got to be in a physically fit condition to deliver your story. So you can go only as far where you can come back. There are times when you know, DON'T GO ANY FURTHER. You realise your luck has absolutely run out. That's when you say to yourself, pull out.

We knew Chinese will deny this, they completely reject it. We needed the evidence. There was absolute carnage and we were in the middle of it. You have to get a TV shot and for that you have to be still, absolutely still, which wasn't just possible.

How is it reporting from the front-line?

There was never a front-line. The while way of covering was is to get as near as possible. To do that you have to insert yourself into a side.

24 hours NEWS channel is an animal which eats, eats and eats. And no organisation in world can feed it with fresh news every 10 minutes. You have to fill the time. Now, how do you fill the time?

Speculate: Just stand there, outside the event centre and speculate. Speculation is another form of new.

Deliver a detailed background and rub it on and on and speculate of likely outcome.

What you are getting in description, analysis indicates reporting.

There is a sense that 24-hour NEWS channel is live. But you are going live from a distance, from a long distance from the action.

I am fascinated by how other people do media. You can tell what you are going to get by watching people.

NEWS is moving into the entertainment world. It's becoming friendly, its getting cosy and appealing. Entertainment has to appeal. You don't entertain people by dreadful things. It's becoming show-bizzy, not driven by journalism. Worldwide, TV NEWS is being used as an entertainment transmission.

When it first started, it was called NEWS BULLETIN, Bulletin was straight, formal and serious. Then it became NEWS PROGRAMME, more relaxing and wider. Now its  called a SHOW, a SHOW, its shifting. NEWS has become show-bizzy, journalism is there, but it's under pressure, it's changing.

Superstar India: From Incredible to Unstoppable

Shobhaa De
in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith

Rosie - "I first met Shobhaa when I visited India in 1997 and she introduced me to the wide diversity of India. Recently she was conferred upon the Most Trusted Person of India Award."

In the western world, you are being called the Jackie Collins of India. Do you feel angry about it?

Angry: No. Initially I used to. I think this comparison is as fake as botox. Its lazy reporting and I do resent it. The person who profiled me and tagged me is actually a good friend now. But it doesn't mattter any more.

Is Mumbai or Bombay still your home?

Bombay is a part of what I am, its a part of me. "I hated Slumdog Millionaire." Mumbai doesn't need films to validate it. Its a part of my organic growth.

You are a serious Journalist and you also have a celebrity status in Bollywood. Are these your two parts?

Its just very much a part of my existence. Though it doesn't define me. I am on the top of image not that the image is on top of me. I am very much a product of South Mumbai

Bollywood is not a physical place, its a state of mind. Movie stars live in North Mumbai, celebrity game is upon you how to play.

You were the pioneer of celebrity gossip in India. Do you regret it now?

Not at all. What is showbiz without masala? It was a social commentary. To be able to comment was important. Things changed after I started writing in Stardust. It gave birth to a new language called hinglish. It's not gossip journalism, its social commentary. It's just holding up a mirror and saying what it is. It is journalism.

You are very outspoken. Was it difficult in early days?

Being opinionated is natural. I was lucky I was given the opportunity and the platform. No one tells me what to say. I get a lot of hate mail and threats but I am not complaining, I have chosen this turf, I am not afraid.

Why would you start writing sexually explicit novels?

How much would the man who wrote Kamasutra know about female orgasm? I write to break taboos. Men are writing erotic books about female sexual experiences without being asked to explain, but when I wrote, I was asked to! I have all the right to write a book.

It's about freedom. Very rarely is the story told by a woman in our country. I took a passionate look at my country. I am glad I did write a book. We all have our ways to express.

The publishing industry in India is expanding whereas in west its shrinking. Your thoughts?

I see around 5-6 manuscripts in a week. Its just gets me amazed. The creativity of young people in just amazing.

When Penguin Books launched in India in 1990, a survey carried out by them showed there is no market for women books. But with the commercial success of my book, things changed. I would always go out of my way to make woman's voice being heard.

Was your last book a departure from your writing style?

If a book is within you, it must be written, you can't hold it in your head. Change is me, I have lived the change. I took chances as a writer. Writing is exubarance. I could have stuck to commercially succeessful writing but I like to do what I wanted to do.

How about championing India?

I felt being on the back-foot always defending India. It needed to be said very strongly. It's very critical to many aspects of the country. The book is very 'Yes darling, but.'

I grew impatient with the ignorance by western world. it's about arrogance. I resent cliches and stereotypes.

Your views on the corrupt politicians in India?

Politicians are our elected representative not masters. Young Indians need to be more proactive and demand accountability. Politics is a lucrative profession and when youngsters join it, the become a part of same corrupt system. The voices are not being heard strongly.

Economy- Who's the beneficiary?

Middle class. Issue is not addressed. Poverty generates vote-banks. Some tribals in India don't know they are part of a country.

IT or  Information Technology, do you think its good for India?

Well, we have to admit it brought India on the world map, but it's about harnessing talent.

About the author:

Bestselling novelist, jet-setting commentator and cultural critic, Shobhaa De, is an Indian superstar. A former model and Bollywood journalist, she exposed Bollywood the way Jackie Collins exposed Hollywood.

Crime Writers' Panel

RJ Ellory, Mark Billingham, Jeffery Deaver
Moderated by Rosie Goldsmith

Crime Novels: The UK and US- comparison

Why do you have different detectives in your novels?

Jeffery: We don't necessarily want to continue to revisit stories. I wanted to create a mental detective, not in a maniac sense, but more in Sherlock Holmes style.

Then I wanted someone who is close to people and so on. Between my characters/detectives. I have got most of significant crimes in the world covered.

Mark: When I saw police officers, I thought they were like accountants. They had uniforms, 9 to 5 jobs, family and pretty much a settled life. That is good, but I don't want to write about these boring people. Readers have new expectations.

RJ: I met some fascinating crime fighters throughout my life and I wanted to tell people how detectives really are and how they live their life.

Do you feel need to bring in politics of today in a novel?

Mark: You can't NOT write. Crime fiction is uniquely placed to look at these factors. The story has to come first, in course of story, you can go to certain areas.

Jeffery: I find CIA helpful.

What makes a book interesting?

RJ: I think enough interest in characters and enough engagement of those characters with the readers will make them actually care about the characters.

Jeffery: I have been writing books since I was 11, well, just four pages, but I still used to call them, books. I loved telling stories and that gravitated me towards crime.

I want to engage with my reader from first sentence to the last. People don't really need to get to the middle of the book. We can engage with reader at any level. The element of personal relationship is there. Crime fiction can encompass social as well as psychological issues, because we write about people!

I don't really consider myself an entertainer. I create roller-costers. I want to create an elaborative roller-coster which might have terrifying experiences, but you will survive my book.

Location: How do you make North London interesting to people around the world? Why don't you write about country side?

Mark: I don't care, I don't care about country side. Any major city has two sides: the city people see and the hidden or the underground city, the society beneath the city. There are darker things in every city. That's how a reader gets interested in such place.

RJ: My novels are based in United States, in different places, different times.

How do American readers like British writers?

RJ: United States, par say, doesn't have a literary heritage, but, its just fascinating to see an incredibly young nations having immense power and influence on every aspect of world policies. America exported their culture around the world. The first book I wanted to read was about the murder of John F. Kennedy.

Jeffery: For me, there is nothing better than a good solid hollywood movie that makes emotional impact. American crime writing in the early 20th century translated into films and that travelled around the world. Books may differ but there is something that resonates in this translation that relates every one's imaginations around the world. When I was visiting Scotland once and was asked to speak at an event, I told the moderator that I will be speaking slowly just to make sure people don't find it difficult to pick. The moderator replied, "Don't worry, just understand us, Scots understand you because of CSI."

RJ: When I read, I want to be engaged and puzzled and questioned and quizzed. I want to be intrigued, I want to fall in love, fgall out of love with the characters.

Criticism and comparisons:

Jeffery: Criticism and characterisation are functions of question. The sole criteria should be: Is the writer a (mentally) healthy person or not? A writer's goal of writing is to perceive his/her thoughts. I like to entertain.

Crime writing: Is there any difference between the UK and US?

Mark: Yes, quite often in the UK we can over-write.

Jeffery: American crime fiction is superficial, there is no depth in it. Where's the crime fiction from the UK have more ambiguity.

Mark: American publishers think they know what the reader want.

RJ: I write in a style that suits the subject matter, US or the world.

Use of social media in crime writing:

Jeffery: I don't really enjoy it. But let's admit it, it has become a part of our lives. In my novel, Roadside Crosses, the protagonist is bullied on the internet and then he turns tables and goes after them. I have actually put on links in my  novel which actually exists and my readers actually click on the links right when they are reading and I have blogs setup on these links which provide them clues and then they take it forward and thus it gets them more and more involved.

RJ: I devote one and half to two hours every morning from 7 t0 9 and then from 10pm to midnight, for my international audience, on social media.

One weakness:

Mark: I find it extremely difficult to describe landscapes. I cannot do this if my life was dependent on it.

RJ: "To write is to human, to edit is to divine." I cannot read my own book as a reader.

Jeffery: I mix up different pauses in my novel in the last chapter and I find it difficult to explain those pauses sometimes.

Mark: I can't write about sex, to write about something you got to know what that is.

About the authors:

Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including The New York Times, The Times of London and The Los Angeles Times. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages.

Mark Billingham is one of the UK's most acclaimed and popular crime writers. His series of London-based novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has won him the Sherlock Award, the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award and he has been nominated for five Crime Writer's Association Daggers. Mark has also worked successfully as a stand-up comedian for more than 15 years.

Roger Jan Ellory or RJ Ellory was born in Birmingham, England. Roger began writing his first novel in November 1987 and till July 1993 wrote 22 novels, none of which were published. He did not start writing again till 2001. His book Candlemoth was published in 2003 which was shortlisted for the Crime Writer's Association Steel Dagger for Best Thriller.

Interview: Robert Greene

How did you find Dubai?

I haven't really been around the city, but so far whatver I have seen, I love it. I am enjoying it, loving the atmosphere.

What are your thoughts on the economic crash around the world?

Economic crash is not really what you think it is. Its not aftermath, its evolution, its a change, the world has not caught up with it. Power is changing. Business and politics have not caught up with the times. Its creative destruction, destructions of cycles of capitalism.

The old world model is disappearing. Before, it was all about attracting large businesses, products and celebrities. Old business model was based on creating some sort of products and marketing it to hell, about domination and bullying.

But its evolving. For example look at the competition between Microsoft an Google. Its like the war between Napoleon and Russians. Napoleon introduced new organisational methods, new tactics. Google is like that.

Existing business models are not perfect and are showing faults. Hierarchy and bureaucracy have made businesses slow and inefficient.

Do you think any country has a edge on other in the current economic situation?

The concept of nation or state is dieing. Barriers and boundaries are disappearing.

There is no country that holds a definite edge.

For example China has a definite advantage over United States but China is 'socially and politically backward', so I don't see China dominating.

India on the other side has a high number of educated and ambitious youth who are very concerned about future and technology. India is also socially vibrant. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.

'United States is in a state of decline.' Instead of attracting talent from countries like China and India there is a reverse drain. But the Universities in United States are still the best and its socially forward, multi-cultural.

So there is pretty much a mixed picture in the world. Nation concept is dieing.

What do you think is the way ahead for Dubai?

Dubai can become a centre of attracting new technology firms, best of engineers. It can become the Silicon Valley of Middle East.

10 years ago, Dubai had a definite edge as compared to places in the Middle East. It was something different.

It could again be exciting and different. There is so much history and so much of Arabic learning here.

Do you think the recession or economic slowdown which keeps emerging every few decades can be avoided?

Recession which appeared in 2008 is like  Tsunami. The changes around the world and the financial bubble sort of combined and an unusually large wave swept the world.

With capitalism, avoiding recession is not possible. There are cycles of capitalism and they are destroyed, both large and small. In fact I think we shouldn't avoid this. There are constant dynamic forces and there should always be room for something new to emerge.

The worst is system is a stable system where there is no change.

I personally think recession is inevitable.

Business models are drastically changing. The information age started in 1990 but it took it a long time to be a success but it has finally arrived.

Speed and adaptability are the keywords. Existing businesses should add value chains, like Amazon and Apple (itunes). Businesses should be fast, fluid and adaptable, they should allow room for change.

For example, Google: Its light, un bureaucratic, no marketing or sales or editorial team, very few managers and business people. Its fast and fluid. Its about crushing the distance between your sales/marketing team and your customers. Its about getting closer to your audience. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are lessening the distance.

Another example is Zara. It sells its stuff online. Their speed of response is very fast, its a light company, no advertisements. They come up with 100s of new products very quickly, gets instant feedback and therefore, is very close to it's customers. They rely on word to mouth publicity.

Strategy and structure are the soul of business.

What are your thoughts on Emirates Airline Festival of Literature?

Its very interesting and exciting. The audience is very nice and open. I talked for 50 minutes and usually I see people yawning and texting on their cellphones, but the audience last night was very responsive. I am massively impressed, the festival is very well run.

About the author:

Bestselling author and public speaker, Robert Greene was born in Los Angeles and has lived in London, Paris and Barcelona. His first book, The 48 Laws of Power was published in 1998 and quickly became an international bestseller. Next came The Art of seduction, a handbook on how to wield the ultimate form of power and a detailed look at the greatest seducers in history. The third in the series, The 33 strategies of War, was published in 2006 and offers a strategic and very topical look at the impact of war on everyday life. Now his latest book The 50th Law, co-written with rapper 50 Cent, takes as its central theme, fearlessness.

Poetry and music spectacular set Emirates Airline Festival of Literature off to a ‘flying start’

  • More than 100 authors enjoyed the unique opening ceremony

  • Festival anthem premiered by more than 200 local school children

  • Performances watched by a capacity VIP audience

12th March, Dubai, 2010:  The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature opened today with a ‘taste of the riches to come’, according to Isobel Abulhoul, Festival Director.  More than 100 authors who are participating in the Festival attended the opening ceremony which featured poetry performances in English and Arabic as well as the premiere of a specially commissioned Festival anthem.  Attendees at the ceremony were also treated to the first public performance of the specially commissioned Festival anthem, entitled ‘The Adventure’.   The anthem was composed by Emirates steward and former music teacher Yousef Khan and was performed by more than 200 students from Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Jumeirah and Arabian Ranches along with Dubai English Speaking School (DESS).  The capacity audience included senior Government officials, diplomats, representatives from major businesses and Educational institutions, and leading lights from the local cultural scene.

The Festival, which takes place in Dubai from 10th – 13th March, is held under the patronage of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, the arts and heritage.

Jeffrey Deaver, the American international best-selling crime writer, read extracts of his poem ‘The Death of Reading’ while UAE-based poet Khalid al-Budoor recited ‘Reading the Postman’, a poem from his newly published collection of 19th century works by Dubai poets.  Khaled was joined on-stage by acclaimed Iraqi poet Fadhil al-Azzawi who as well as reciting the English translation of ‘Reading the Postman’ joined Festival moderator Paul Blezard in an entertaining, light-hearted ‘duel’ featuring well-known opening lines from novels.

‘’More than 100 authors have gathered in Dubai from the four corners of the globe,” said Isobel Abulhoul, “with a mandate to debate and inspire throughout the next four days.  There will, I’m sure, be many highlights throughout the main author programme, Education Day and Fringe but the wonderful opening ceremony has provided us with a flying start.”

There were also speeches from Mohammed Al Murr, Vice Chairman, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Maurice Flanagan, Executive Vice Chairman, Emirates Airline and Group.

About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature:

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is a celebration of literature in all its forms. As the Middle East’s largest annual literary festival, it offers residents and overseas visitors the opportunity to meet famous authors, attend literary debates, listen to readings and participate in workshops. A key aim of the Festival is to encourage new and emerging talent and creativity within the region. Attendees can also enjoy the many free Fringe activities that are held as part of the festival. The 2010 Festival will take place from 10th to 13th March at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Sign up to our newsletter on www.emirateslitfest.com

About Emirates:

Emirates is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. With a fleet of 138 modern aircraft, it flies to more than 100 destinations across six continents. Emirates has won more than 400 international awards for its products and services and supports a wide range of sports and cultural activities around the world. It is proud to be the title sponsor for the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature.

About Dubai Culture & Arts Authority:

The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) was launched on March 8, 2008 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Culture plays a critical part in achieving the vision of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 of establishing the city as vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. The organisation has announced several initiatives that strengthen the historic and modern cultural fabric of Dubai, namely: Muhammad the Messenger Museum; Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Awards; Gulf Film Festival; Bastakiya Art Fair; Dubai Festival for Youth Theatre; Dubai Next: Khor Dubai; and The Holy Lands.

For further information, please contact:

James Mullan

Communication Director

Mob.: (+97150) 455 9047

Gillian Bourke

PR & Communication Manager

Tel.: +971 (04) 344 4192


Youssef Ziedan: in Conversation

Youssef Ziedan

in Conversation with Mohammad Al Murr

"What can I do with all my pasion when I'm imprisoned in my worries?" Thought provoking much?

Welcome to Day 1 Session 6, International Prize for Arabic Fiction or Arabic Booker Prize, 2009 winner author Youssef Ziedan in Conversation with Mohammad Al Murr.

Do historical novels need research and reading to a great extent?

This is the first thing required. In any time, to write about history, you must try to live, imagine that time. I imagined I lived those scenes. In recent times, the anatomy would be different. To write about history, we go identify history.

Accusations: Instead of making it a history of religion, you made it a historical book.

When I was young, an editor asked me to write an article. I started writing, but I used to feel sad when parts of my articles were removed. I complained with my editor and he asked me to write again and again and keep writing.

In response to my novel, 6 books were wrote. One of which accused me of showing ignorance to history. I go back to what me editor told me: write and write.

What I see as more fruitful is that people won't stop criticising. We are not going to wait for what these people think.

There are various aspects of history. Why would my novel be an accusation when it came 300 years after Coptic Chair? History can be dealt with various angles and we don't wanna be dead or demolished again. I take the freedom provided as to me to write, but I will not cry. I write my novel, I finish my job and move to write another novel. So let them say what they want to say.

Do you think your novel is not a scientific information? Its fiction. Don't you think you should refrain from writing such controversial things for the interest of nation?

We should confront tutorship. I did refrained from shedding lights on topics which conflicts with Sharia. Even the Bishop said, this is balance of power. Our Government banned Da Vinci Code (movie) when the Church requested them to.

Imagine if each region is going to come up with sad reactions, what will we write about?

I wanted to write how Jews left Alexandria because there was misery, but I avoided writing about those adventures. Things that are presented as undiscussable are not even close to history. I was not attacking Coptic Church or any person. Historical awareness covered in Azazil goes beyond this issue.

Kindly explain what part of your novel is historical, what is imagination and what's the reality?

I have not put or created this framework. This is upon the reader to put his imagination to work. Character are real, they existed in history, I just manoeuvred them using some reference.

The text doesn't include anything, The text it a mirror that reflects what you see. You are a reader and you come up with results.

How did you come about to write a novel?

I came to write novel from Sufism. 'When' indicated time, an era and spirits from beyond etc. Capacity of this term explains the power of literature.

A large part of my work are taken from Sufism and this was a natural reaction. Talent also needs other complimentary elements, you will have to read a LOT before writing such work.

About the author:

Youssef Zeidan is a Egypt born author. His academic work was focused on Sufism and other branches of Islamic philosophy and he is director of the Manuscript Centre and Museum affiliated to the Bibliotheca Alexandria. He is now most widely known for his bestselling second novel, Azazil which won the 2009 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the 'Arabic Boooker').

Conn Iggulden: Historical Fiction at its Best

Conn Iggulden

From Julius Caesar to Shakespeare to his own life story, Iggulden took the audience on a laughter ride. Making fun of himself, sharing his experiences, Iggulden talked about Julius Caesar's fascinating story.

First Iggulden played psychologist, explaining what led to Julius Caesar being so violent. "Julius Caesar was kidnapped at the age of 19 & held for ransom. He decided, when I will eventually be free, I'll kill all of them."

"One of the difficulties of Historical Fiction is that sometimes you have to make your own stories"

Blessed with an amazing sense of humor, Iggulden just kept the audience spell bound with experiences like this: "I once asked a tribal: How do you separate sheep from a goat? Tribal: why do you want to separate sheep from a goat?"

And it couldn't have been more aptly put than this: "Every writer is a reader first." and "People do care about each other. We are all interested in others."

About the author:

Teacher Turned bestselling writer, Conn Iggulden, credits his Irish mother, who explained history to him as a series of exciting stories together with an early diet of Flashman, Jack Aubrey and Sharpe, as having kindled his interest in historical fiction. His own career took off in 2003 with The Gates of Rome, the first in his Emperor series following the life of Julius Caesar. His new series based on Genghis Khan, leaped straight into the bestseller lists.

Day 1 in Pics: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Day 1 in Pics: Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Inspiration- Why we write

Bahaa Taher, Yann Martel and Imtiaz Dharker
In conversation with Paul Blezard

Concept of muses:

Bahaa: I don't believe we need muses to inspire poetry or music. We need inspiration and own realisation to to create poetry. Inspiration changes from one period to another. Writers or artist fail to produce words sometimes. Muses of poetry or music is inside ourself and its upon us how can we make use of them.

Joy of creative writing: What sustains you?

Imtiaz: I don't believe you can write in hope that someone will publish it. You have to start with that, just start with that. With poetry you write knowing its a hopeless cause. You are forced to do it. The audience may never be there. When I first read Gerard Manley Hopkins, I realised words were playful, thats when I began to write.

Bahaa: If inspiration dies, you need to stop at that stage and consider two options: First - Refrain from writing or Pursue with diligence or wait, wait for inspiration. Hemmingway shot himself when he couldn't write. Optimism is paramount. When writing is impossible, people still continue to write without inspiration.

I do think they do understand the advises, they continue to write when the inspiration is not present for fans. Stop writing when inspiration dies. God takes care of writers.

Yann: Writing is North America is commercialised. Publishers now make huge sums, while writers suffer. Writers now submit themselves to commercialisation. When I started writing, what I loved was that I control things. You have a sense you are god. When you are 19, you can follow your dreams, so do when you are 30. But at 40, you need to stop being optimistic and be realistic.

Imtiaz: For a writer, colleagues are other writers in the world, great source of inspiration, living and dead.

Bahaa: Applies to real writers, not superficial writers. People write series of books to prove their effective presence.

Yann Martel leapt to public attention in 2001 when his second novel, Life of Pi, won the Booker Prize.

Bahaa Taher's novel Sunset Oasis won the IPAF, or Arabic Bo0ker in 2008.

Imtiaz Dharker is a Pakistan-born, Scottish educated poet.