KLF: Mohsin Hamid

My name is mohsin hamid. I’m a writer and we’re at the Karachi literature festival.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on my third novel but I’m a little superstitious about not talking about
books until they are done so I can’t say too much about it.

Is this your first time at the Karachi Literature Festival?

It’s my third time. I came to the first and second festival and this is the third festival
so I have been every time.

Any interesting anecdote or observation about the festival that you would like
to share?

Well I think that one thing that has started to change is that it has become kind of a
regular fixture. People expect it, they know it’s here so I think it’s becoming part of
the Karachi writing ecosystem in a different way than it used to be.

What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

I don’t know about writer’s block. I just write. Some times I write badly and
other times I write less badly and… I don’t know about writer’s I think I have
procrastination at times when I’m writing.

What do you then?

Sometimes I don’t push it. A month will go by and I don’t write. Just let things settle
or take shape and other times I just sit down and write and I might throw away a lot
of my writing but I just keep writing. It’s I guess just like anything else if you want to
make something then you have to be making something.

How many hours do you write in a day when do you get rolling?

I’d say a typical day for me these days is a couple of hours writing before lunch,
a few hours in the afternoon, so ? 4 to 6 six hours of not necessarily writing but
thinking about or working on or both. So I’ll be reading stuff out loud, I’ll be walking
around my room. I might actually be typing for only a portion of that time but about
4, 5, 6 hours.

What’s the longest stretch that you have sat down to write?

I’ve written until physical exhaustion so it has happened that I start in the morning

and I finish the following day. I don’t sleep. Or it’d be when I was younger, and I
wrote moth smoke often times I would start at night. So I’d start writing at 8 or
9 or 10 in the evening and sometimes I’d all the way through the night, through
breakfast, through lunch and finish the following evening.

What do you drink when you’re writing?

Water. I drink a lot of water when I’m writing. I’m not a caffeine drinker. Not that
I avoid it particularly but I’m not a big fan of tea or coffee so I;m really a water

Who’s your favorite author? A favorite line?

Wow, I don’t really have a favorite line. I can’t think of one. Umm and I don’t have
a favorite author, I have lots of writers I love. I can tell you the names of some of
them if you like. So I like Calvino, Borgess, Nabokov. I quite like Ca? Shaguro, James
Baldwin. I like Hemmingway. See lots of writers.

Who’s your favorite Pakistani author?

I don’t have a favorite amongst Pakistani writers. The Pakistani writer who has
influenced me the most is probably Manto. But that’s probably true for almost every
Pakistani writer and amongst my generation lots of them are really really good and I
am excited to meet several of them ?