Interview with Annie Zaidi

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  • Published 20150804
  • ISBN: 978-1-922182-90-6
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

ANNIE ZAIDI IS a journalist and creative writer based in Mumbai. Since the publication of her first book – a collection of essays called Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales (Tranquebar, 2010) – she has published short stories, poetry and two novellas. She has also written several play scripts that have been performed on stage, and a handful of short films that you can watch on YouTube. Zaidi is a keen observer of her own society, and her writing is guided by a strong sense of social justice: she has written about problems associated with India’s democratic process, its bureaucracy and infrastructure, and its cultural and caste prejudices. She is particularly interested in the unique hurdles faced by women. In her essay ‘Embodying Venus’, Zaidi creates a vivid picture of women and girls living and growing up in India today, where there is an entrenched culture of policing women that includes the ‘fetishisation and terrorisation’ of their bodies. ’Embodying Venus’ raises pertinent questions about what it means for women to be empowered and unashamed of their bodies.

I know that you grew up with literature in the home. Your grandfather was a famous Urdu writer, scholar of Indian literature and freedom fighter for India’s independence in the 1930s; your mother, a schoolteacher and principal, has also written poetry. At college in Rajasthan, you were already writing poetry and drama skits, which you followed with a degree and career in journalism. What has writing meant to your family? How did your family’s appreciation of liberal arts and values affect your own practice of writing?

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