PROGRAM postponed due to Coronavirus
Women Who Write is pleased to offer programs throughout the year that help to nurture, encourage and educate our members while fostering a sense of community beyond the individual critique groups. Every year we have a Winter Gathering to celebrate the season and each other while enjoying delicious cuisine. At the launch of Goldfinch, our annual literary journal, we provide an opportunity for each selected author to read her published piece as well as an open mike for everyone who attends the event. In addition, we offer programs in prose, poetry and screenwriting throughout the year by accomplished industry professionals.
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The Burden of Foreknowledge
by Jawahara Saidullah
Sponsored by Programs Committee
Date: TO BE ANNOUNCED
Time: TO BE ANNOUNCED
The Burden Of Foreknowledge
Date: TO BE ANNOUNCED
Women Who Write is proud to feature as our first book club selection, “The Burden of Foreknowledge”, by Jawahara Saidullah. Her book can be found at the Madison Library and on Amazon. Please return to this page, or be on the lookout for an email announcement of our new date, time and location after the Coronavirus threat has passed.
Where did the inspiration for Burden of Foreknowledge come from?
I’ve always been a history buff and a dreamer. Once, during a visit to Fatehpur-Sikri—the abandoned city of dreams—I pondered how a woman could have a place, apart from being a mother of a wife, in those times. I came up with the idea that during that era of history in the 15th century (not just in India but across the world) outcast women were the only ones free to be individuals, to be themselves. A courtesan or a mad woman could live more freely than any other. I started with that premise and then the book spun out to become what it eventually did.
What was the first piece you ever wrote? Did you share it with anyone? What was their reaction?
The first piece I remember writing was a story in Grade 2. The assignment was to write about a particular Indian coin, the 50p coin. I wrote the story from the coin’s perspective from when it was freshly minted through various adventures. My teacher loved it and read it in front of the class, and I realized that I loved creating new worlds and new realities and that I was half-way decent at it.
What methods do you use to connect with your audience?
The short answer is I don’t think about the audience at all while writing fiction. Non-fiction is another beast altogether. I write fiction for myself, to make myself happy. It’s pretty impossible to predict what an audience will like so I don’t even go there. I enjoy the process of writing fiction and I don’t want to muddy it by thinking of what a hypothetical audience might connect with. To me, that makes the writing more artificial and less spontaneous. I just write. If audiences connect with it that’s great. If they don’t…I shrug and move on.
What are you working on now and what made you choose to write about this?
Currently, I am working on a non-fiction project—part memoir, part travelogue, part historical exploration. It is a book-length project about the warrior queens of India and how all of us, in the modern world can connect with these powerful women from the past.
Again, this is where my fascination with history was the catalyst. Growing up and studying in India, the warrior queens had always fascinated me. I spent time researching them and traveled to the places they ruled. Simultaneously certain events in my own life seemed to align with their lives though we lived hundreds of years apart. I realized that despite the differences between their lives and hours they faced challenges similar to what all women do even today. This being a non-fiction project I did consider the audience—and I think many, if not most women will connect with this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jawahara Saidullah has always written, from when she was a child growing up in India until now. The Burden of Foreknowledge, published in 2007 was her first novel. Her second novel, An Incomplete Universe, is currently with her agent and is being read by publishers. Jawahara’s shorter pieces—fiction and non-fiction-- have appeared in journals, magazines, newspapers and book anthologies. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction. For five years she was a weekly columnist on socio-cultural issues for Mid-Day, a newspaper in Mumbai, India with a readership of over 1 million. She was also a featured writer at the online literary journal, www.chowk.com (now defunct). Currently, she lives in New Jersey with her young daughter and her husband as she works on her newest project, a non-fiction manuscript.
The Burden of Foreknowledge is available at Madison Public Library
or on Amazon.com
You can find Jawarhara on Facebook at Jawahara Saidullah: She Writes
or on Twitter @Jawahara
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