Nadeem Aslam: ‘I take delight that my initials in Urdu look like a pen by an inkwell’

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By Nadeem Aslam

I sleep in the afternoon and evening and get up at 11pm. I am at my desk at midnight and I write until six or seven in the morning. I have been working this way for 25 years now. The quietness deepens at night and everything feels saturated with stillness. From 7am till midday, I read. It is often said human beings don’t come with an instruction manual; but I believe that books – libraries – are the instruction manuals for human beings. To read a great book is to realise that everything is already known. I also look at the newspapers. Many things in my books come from real life; but a novelist has to be careful in transporting a real event into the landscape of a novel. It is patient work, like moving a lake from one place to another with a teaspoon.

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