Sarah Jessica Parker's editorial debut: In conversation with author Fatima Mirza

She was 'interested in exploring what it means when to be loyal to oneself is to betray the home you have come from'

Warda Imran July 17, 2017

Actor Sarah Jessica Parker’s debut as the editorial director of SJP for Hogarth is a novel about an Indian Muslim family residing in California, and will be published in 2019, reported Vogue.

Parker, who is an acclaimed actress, shoe designer, producer and recently, a literary enthusiast, has her own line of books within the Hogarth imprint of Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group. And her debut will be Fatima Farheen Mirza’s novel, A Place for Us.

The book, which will follow the family on the eve of their eldest daughter’s wedding, is the brainchild of Mirza, 26, who is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She is also a former teacher of creative writing and fiction and the University of Iowa and at the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio.

Sarah Jessica Parker's editorial debut: Story of an Indian-Muslim family settled in America

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mirza said she was not giving interviews about the book just yet as she was still busy working on it, but agreed to talk a bit about her experience as a budding novelist in the US.  She also mentioned that her mother was born in Pakistan, but she has never been to the country.

“It is amazing to me to hear from you in Pakistan, as it is a land I have not yet visited [but would love to], and it is also where my mother was born,” she told The Express Tribune.

While talking about the book, she said, “I was interested in exploring what it means when to be loyal to oneself is to betray the home you have come from, the bond between siblings as well as their betrayals, and the decisions that each character makes that determines not only their own destiny, but also the lives of their loved ones.”

She began writing her novel when she was a freshman in college, and it was her love for the characters – Layla, Rafiq, Hadia and Amar –that motivated her to continue working on it.

Emerging novelist brings sing-along fantasy adventure to Pakistan

When asked about her experience at the Iowa center for writing, she replied, “My time at Iowa was invaluable. I had been working on the novel for a few years when I was accepted into the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In undergrad, the novel was my secret project that I worked on between and after classes, on weekends, etc. Iowa allowed me to make writing the centre of my life.”

She also added that her teachers and peers there taught her a lot as well. “I learned so much from my teachers and peers, who were also devoted to their own projects. I had the time and space to really think about what ‘fiction’ was, what a novel could do, and write and rewrite the novel.”


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