On Sunday, September 29, Kinokuniya in The Dubai Mall will host the launch of four new books from the Pakistani publishing house FK Squared. Two of these titles, The Hajj Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan and The Euro Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan, are by the country’s youngest writer — the 8-year-old Lailamah Giselle Khan. Encouraged by her parents to keep a diary during the two trips featured in the books, the young girl presents what may well be some of the first travelogues of their kind: for a child, by a child.
How do you feel about coming to Dubai to launch your books?
I am happy because Dubai is such a fun place. I am excited because my books will be in the biggest bookstore in the world.
How did the idea of writing these books come to you?
Before I started off for my trip to Europe, my mama and baba [mother and father] suggested that I keep a diary of everything I do so that later on I can read and remember the good times. So that is how it started and even if some days I didn’t feel like writing, mama and baba would not let me sleep before I finished. Before we started off for Haj, I knew I would have to write.
Why was it that you chose these two experiences to write about?
I didn’t choose them. They just happened like that. I went to Europe and then I went for Haj.
Was it difficult?
When I started writing it was just in a diary. I didn’t think my diaries would turn into my books. Baba said they would, but I thought it was to tempt me to write when I got lazy or tired. During Haj, there were days when we were on the move all the time or when we slept in camps and although I had my diary with me, it was nearly impossible to write.
What do you think makes a good writer?
A writer must have an awesome imagination, a sense of humour and, if they are writing for children, they should try to think like a child. It would be a great thing if the author has travelled a bit.
What made you feel that you wanted to be a writer?
I love reading. I want to make sure there are enough books in the world to be enjoyed and I want to be a part of that.
Who were the people who helped you the most along this journey, and how?
I couldn’t have written my Europe diary without the help of mama, and recording what happened at Haj would have been impossible without baba. They would sit down with me every night and we would talk about what happened that day, it would then become easier to write about it. There were so many places we went to and so many things that we saw that I would forget something. But they would remember.
Are you working on new books? What will they be about?
This summer we went to Greece and Turkey; I also went to the US. I’ve written a diary about each of these places, so, yes, I have been working on new books. This experience was different from my Haj and Europe trips. I think it’s because I’ve grown up a little and I look at things differently now.
Are there other writers in your family?
Yes, my dada [grandfather] and my father have each had two books published. My nano [grandmother] also writes, but she hasn’t been published yet. A lot of people in my family like writing.
The Pakistani publishing house FK Squared will launch four new titles at Kinokuniya at The Dubai Mall today (SUBS Sept 29) from 5pm to 6.30pm
The Hajj Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan and The Euro Journey of Lailamah Giselle Khan are travelogues, with colourful illustrations, written in the simple language and style expected from an 8-year-old.
Midlife and Naked by Shaista Ayesha is the biography of Faraz Khan and Khusro Ansari, two Pakistani entrepreneurs. The book combines the duo’s journey of self-discovery with the lessons that they have learnt about success in the business world on the way.
Pukh Theory, jointly written by FarazKhan and Farhad Karamally, is a parable on leadership management, featuring an unlikely protagonist: the uneducated owner of a donkey cart.
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