1. Tell us about yourself
My name is Shoaib Rashdi. I like to describe myself as an aspiring polymath who believes in pursuing universal knowledge. I am currently an English teacher at Millennium Roots Schools, Future World Campus, Bahria Town Karachi.
2. What inspired you to become a writer?
Needing a medium to deal with my demons inspired me to become a writer. As far as I am concerned, the first and foremost purpose of pursuing art is self-therapy. Everything else that writing has to offer is secondary.
3. You were a finalist at Daastan’s story writing competition. Tell us a bit about it.
My short story entitled Birth to a Dancing Star was one of the twenty short stories that were selected for publication in the anthology of Literati – South Asian Award for Micro-Fiction 2018. This was the first time my writing had won anything. It gave me faith that my writing had artistic merit to it, amplifying the strength of my resolve to become a literary man.
4. Which one of your stories won the #WeToo Short Story Writing Competition at Daastan?
My short story entitled Talb-e-Mamta ke Sadqe was one of the winning stories in the #WeToo Short-Story Writing Competition. The story was written on the theme of infertility. It was originally written in Urdu, but was later translated into English before its publication on the Stories to Action website. It can be read at: https://storiestoaction.com/2020/11/dastaanxstoriestoaction-story-writing-winner-shoaib-rashdi/
5. Please share titles and a brief (2-3 line) synopsis of your books/works
1. Asylum of Lovers: A short-story collection that explores the glorious theme of love. Each short story paints a different facet of love with vigor. It was published by WriterTalks in February of 2021.
2. Chaotic Ruminations: A slender collection of maxims that explore subjects ranging from psychology to art. It is my second book and is currently being published by WriterTalks.
6. Do you think aspiring authors have enough publishing platforms in Pakistan?
Not at all. I think there needs to be a surge of literary platforms not only to foster healthy competition but to persuade more and more of the youth to write by having them participate in literary competitions on an increasingly frequent basis.
7. What skills can make the youth better readers and writers?
Falling in love with the idea of expressing oneself using the elegance language has to offer is the prerequisite to becoming a writer. As far as reading skills are concerned, reading for the mere pleasure of reading is the best habit that a reader can inculcate within himself.
8. What inspired you to pursue a Masters’ degree in English Literature?
The fact that literary analysis appeals to me far more than the other uses of the intellect that other career paths demand. I spend a great deal of my time reading literary classics which has further made me fall in love with English Literature.
9. Which Pakistani authors do you like to read?
My favorite Pakistani author is Saadat Hussain Manto because of his focus on characters that are essentially a glaring anomaly in society and have a unique way of interpreting the world. My work itself is also greatly inspired by him in some respects.
10. Your message for the youth of Pakistan?
Do not single-mindedly pursue only those career paths that promise material and economic benefits at the expense of spiritual exploration. Be audacious enough to embark upon a journey of spiritual fulfillment regardless of whether or not it yields financial success.
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