Youth is the future of Pakistan. Often we must have heard it but we rarely believe it. We came to believe it finally when we heard about the award-winning poet, performer, and speaker, Orooj-e-Zafar.
At only the age of 22, Orooj has their own book published and has won several awards in poetry. Not many people were able to achieve that. They make a perfect example of consistency and hard work and has set an example for the youth of our country to follow.
As we were curious about how they managed success at such a young age, we decided to ask them ourselves about it. And, they gladly replied to our questions.
Having a book published at such a young age, rarely people manage that. Can you tell us something about how you achieved it?
I was introduced to the world of publishing, online & in print, at a very young age – thirteen years old – so I’ve been primed for sending my work out for a while now. after my first series of successes in the literary world, I won the second Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize for instance & placed in a National Poetry Slam, I believed it was time, I send out a themed body of work into the world. an international press Where Are You Press expressed great interest in publishing my manuscript Home & Other Debris– of course I couldn’t say no.
What made you fall in love with literature?
My mother introduced me to Urdu poetry at a young age as I used to sing a lot of classical music, so understanding what I was singing, made me fall in love with language, linguistics & transliterating my thoughts onto paper.
Were there some hardships when you decided to follow this career? Can you relate them to us?
The constant onslaught of rejections, haha. When you publish as widely as I have, it comes with a generous number of rejections from presses & magazines alike. It helps you grow thicker skin & evolve your style, voice & such, so it’s a hardship I’ve learned a lot from.
Any ideal writers or poets of yours?
Andrea Gibson, hands down. their work stirs me in a way no one else can, whether they write about love or loss or both. Carol Rifka Brunt is one of my all-time favourite fiction writers.
So many achievements and awards at such a young age, what is the secret of your success?
Persistence, consistency & thick skin, you have to detach your ego when you put your work out there. it sounds paradoxical at first– to write so authentically & then completely detach yourself from your work so you don’t take rejection seriously or personally but it’s the only way to learn & move forward.
What is your most favorite book that you would read over and over?
Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Pansy, Take Me With You, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, The Madness Vase all by Andrea Gibson.
Have you ever experienced a reader’s block or writer’s block?
Yes, many a time. I find that writing through it, through journaling or other artistic media helps me get over it
It is said that poets and writers have the deepest of emotions. Do you think that someone can be a writer who doesn’t feel that deeply?
I think everyone feels deeply about something in their lives & people, who fight that, often find it difficult to write or relate to heavily personal poetry. To feel is to live, is to write, is to be, so I deeply disagree with the fact that everyone doesn’t feel deeply.
How did the publishing of your book change your life?
It made me realize. in the words of Andrea Gibson, “the pain is never just ours,” I wrote about some very difficult parts of my life in Home & Other Debris & to find out that not only have people felt the way I do, thus uniting us all. But it also made people want to immortalize my words on their skin (!). I felt that outside of medicine (I’m in medical school, studying to become a doctor), you can change people’s lives for the better. it really lifted my spirits & motivated me to keep going, writing.
Any message to your fans or advice to the newcomer writers?
Never compromise on your artistic integrity, flounder with all art styles until you find your voice, let it evolve & seek change. Welcome it. It will always leave you better.
Source All Images: www.facebook.com/oroojezafarwrites
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