DR. NADIA HASHIMI IS A LOCAL, AWARD WINNING AUTHOR AND PHYSICIAN BRINGING GLOBAL CONSCIOUSNESS THROUGH HER STORYTELLING. HER SUCCESS HAS TAKEN HER AROUND THE WORLD AS SHE PROMOTES HER WRITING AND CHAMPIONS FOR THE CAUSES THAT ARE CLOSE TO HER HEART. THE BUSY MOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN TOOK TIME FROM HER HECTIC SCHEDULE TO SPEAK WITH ME ABOUT HERSELF AND HER NOVELS, WHICH I HAVE COME TO LOVE, AND WANT TO INTRODUCE TO ALL OF POSH SEVEN’S READERS.
Nadia Hashimi is an American woman born to Afghan parents with strong ties to her family’s country. Her extensively researched debut novel, “The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell” is the heart wrenching story of two Afghan women set in different time periods. The book was met with great acclaim which encouraged the new author to continue with her writing. Three books followed, “When The Moon is Low”, “A House Without Windows” and a children’s book “One Half From the East”. Her next book is also for young adults and is called “The Sky At Our Feet” which is due out in March.
Ms. Hashimi grew up surrounded by a large community of Afghan family members. Her family and friends watched as the country suffered throughout the years. She travelled to a turbulent Afghanistan in 2002 and was profoundly impacted by that trip. She saw with her own eyes how the decades of war and upheaval left the population lacking in safe and healthy living conditions but she also saw the hope and hospitality of the people. The plight of the women and children of the country are at the heart of her novels and her humanitarian work, but explains that these are issues not unique to Afghanistan. She tackles the problems of poverty, immigration, illiteracy, addiction and domestic abuse. A vocal and dedicated activist, she is using her education and compassion to promote awareness to these situations that affect us all.
PS: YOU HAVE BEEN VERY BUSY WITH YOUR WRITING. YOUR FIRST NOVEL DEBUTED IN 2014 AND YOU HAVE COMPLETED SEVERAL SINCE THEN. WHY IS WRITING SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?
NH: I have always been an avid reader but writing happened sort of unexpectedly. Encouraged by my husband, I thought I would try it and just see what would happen. I have found it so rewarding as I am able to touch the lives of so many people through my writing. I found it similar to my work in medicine, as a pediatrician. I realized I was able to help even more people through my books, getting very important messages out to a large audience. I have received such rewarding feedback from people, telling me how the novels have inspired and touched them. It became a sort of healing process for me.
PS: WHAT SACRIFICES HAVE YOU MADE TO CONTINUE YOUR WRITING?
NH: Sleep! I am just kidding! I don’t consider it a sacrifice as I love it, but I have had to make some adjustments.There is only so much time as I have many demands from other aspects of my life, so I had to make changes. As a mother of four children, I am very busy with their schedules, not just my own. There is also the editing, research and all the travel that is involved with being an author so, I have had to cut back on my work as a pediatrician to dedicate the time I need to my writing.
PS: YOU WENT TO AFGHANISTAN IN 2002. DID THE AFGHANISTAN YOU VISITED DIFFER MUCH FROM THE STORIES YOUR FAMILY TOLD YOU ABOUT THE COUNTRY?
NH: In many ways, yes. It was a very difficult time and many things about the city of Kabul had changed. There were whole neighborhoods and even family homes that had been reduced to rubble. Structurally Kabul had changed, with many of the older buildings destroyed in the fighting but there is also a lot of new construction underway. The city has suffered through so much destruction and it was visible in the moral of the people, but on the other hand, much was the same. The customs and celebrations that I experienced were still happening, but secretively. Life under the Taliban had placed so many restrictions on the people but they were trying to continue with their lives as best as they could. The culture, the warmth and the hospitality of the Afghan people was still there.
PS: YOUR STORIES ARE LARGELY CENTERED AROUND THE STRUGGLES OF WOMEN AND FAMILIES IN AFGHANISTAN, BUT YOUR FEMALE CHARACTERS ARE PORTRAYED AS BRAVE AND INTELLIGENT. HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEAR THAT AFGHANISTAN IS ONE OF THE WORST PLACES TO BE WOMAN?
NH: Hearing the stories in the news, objectively there is some truth to that. When you look at the hardships Afghan women face in their daily lives, there are many challenges but there is much more to the stories you hear about. There are also a lot of inspiring and heroic women who are brave and making great strides in improving their lives. Technology has helped a lot with the internet and smart phones! The good news is that they are now gaining support from their families, countrymen and the government.
PS: THE UNITED NATIONS HAS DECLARED OCTOBER 11 THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL TO RECOGNIZE CHALLENGES GIRLS FACE AROUND THE WORLD. HOW DO YOU THINK WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFGHANISTAN AND AROUND THE WORLD CAN MAKE THEMSELVES MORE PRESENT AND INFLUENTIAL IN THEIR SOCIETIES?
NH: They are doing it every day! They are their own champions by campaigning for roles in government, education, arts and athletics. They are protesting and demonstrating against injustices and gaining support from their countrymen. Women are fighting against the normalization of sexual assault in society, which is a huge problem, especially in areas of crises. They are fighting for access to healthcare and lobbying for education. These are topics that need to be addressed globally and are not specific to any one country.
PS: YOUR NOVELS ALSO TOUCH ON THE TOPICS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES. THE WORLD IS FACING A HUGE REFUGEE CRISES AT THE MOMENT AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS A SENSITIVE TOPIC. WHY ARE THESE TOPICS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
NH: Human rights quickly lose ground during a refugee crises and women and girls are particularly at risk. Their education is interrupted, they are at greater risk of sexual assault and trafficking and health care is compromised. These are problems that will take years to correct and will continue for a long time.
PS: YOU HAVE YOUR NEXT BOOK DUE OUT IN MARCH. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT IT?
NH: “The Sky At Our Feet” is my new novel which is for young adults. It is the story of a twelve year old boy from New Jersey named Jason, who finds out his mother is an illegal immigrant. It is centered on the points of immigration and deportation but conveyed in a way that young people can understand and relate to. Children are aware of these issues and they have questions about them, so it was a great way to explain things in a manner they could comprehend.
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