Musharraf Ali Farooqi describes himself as a professional writer, one who writes full time. No day job to help pay the bills, no fall-back option. But then, his agent loved his first book, the associate publisher of Knopf Canada, loved it, too, and The Story of A Widow was published to rave reviews.
“It takes time to find a suitable publisher, I was lucky,” he says modestly. “The book has a universal message, emotions are universal.”
Farooqi, 43, came to Canada when he was 26, and drew on memories of the neighbourhood he grew up in in Pakistan and of the people he knew. To those who approach him for tips on becoming a writer, Farooqi has simple advice. The first thing he asks them is if writing is something they can do without or if the urge to write, the need to write, is so compelling that they are willing to give up anything to do so.
“When writing becomes a part of their persona, the process of writing is a reward in itself.”
Farooqi is married to Michelle, an artist and illustrator, who is illustrating his graphic novel.