Mariam Soofi is a young writer whose book “The Dying Moon” recently got published.
1: Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mariam Soofi, I am seventeen and I study at Kinnaird College where I’m doing Fsc Pre-Medical. I like painting, often some street photography and writing. I used to play tennis, but I stopped around six months ago on Punjab level. Reading is my favorite hobby and I like performing. I do a lot of work in NGOs and have recently organized a workshop in November 2018 on sexually abused people. I am currently doing workshops for children who are drifting towards drugs, suicide and gender confusion etc.
2: What inspired you to start writing
Mariam: When I was in fifth grade, I was diagnosed with a high depression disorder and I tried to write to keep myself from the misery. When my grandfather died in 2017, I was passing through a hard time. I got anxiety attacks and the depression got worse as I started seeing hallucinations. I tried to translate my emotions into words and that’s how I formed a book.
3: And did that help, the writing?
Mariam: Yes. Eventually I stopped seeing hallucinations and the frequency of the panic attacks was reduced. Not only did I write but I kept my brain really occupied. I started taking part in NGOs and am opting to start my own.
4: Who was your biggest support in your writing journey?
Mariam: My whole family is drawn towards writing and a lot of my family members, including my grandfather and uncle have written many books so the support came from many places. I can’t really point out who supported me the most although my uncle motivated me a lot.
5: Tell us about your book.
Mariam: My book basically revolves around the topic of death and the social evils in our society that exist among us, but we choose to overlook, or we know they’re there, but we don’t do anything about them. I wrote it for my grandfather, but anyone can interpret it according to themselves; death of a loved one or separation from a loved one. It was published on 10 January 2019.
6: What were the problems you faced while writing?
Mariam: I didn’t face many problems other than not paying much attention to my studies. We measure people with grades here and that’s a problem. The numbers in our society have more value than what lies in one’s brain. Intellect to us is an adjective, in our minds we grade people by their scores. We value a doctor or an engineer more than an artist. That’s how our society has made a class system.
7: How was your publishing experience in Pakistan? Did you struggle to get it published due to the lack of publishing houses in Pakistan?
Mariam: I self-published my book, I tried reaching some of the publishing houses but got no response (issues of marketing and advertising). There was a think fest which gave me a pretty good opportunity to advertise. Yes, advertisement is still an issue. I am doing it through my social media, that is the best I can do.
8: What do you plan to do in the future related to your writing?
Mariam: I am currently writing another book, the money that I will get from it will go to a little project that I am starting. Writers don’t have a secure future in Pakistan, so it is always considered as a side hobby, never as a profession
9: Do you have any advice for other young aspiring writers?
Mariam: Yes! Write your heart out. I know the journey isn’t easy and you feel like you are exposing yourself, but if you are doing it for the right reason and with the right heart the world will see that. I know after a certain time you will hate your work but it’s okay it means that you are progressing and moving towards a better step. Never give up on writing, never.
Thank you for your time Mariam.