Writer’s Words: Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor was a part of our new programming segment, the Diaspora Dialogues Literary Scavenger Hunt! She gave ‘flash mob’ readings of her book Stealing Nasreen. She is also the author of the book Six Metres of Pavement.

Did you participate in the Hunt? Would you like to continue seeing events like this at the festival? Leave a comment and let us know.


I was a “clue” for the Diaspora Dialogues Literary Scavenger Hunt. It was lovely to do intimate readings from my book, Stealing Nasreen, to groups of 2-6 people.

Right after one of the readings, a woman and her 12-year-ol daughter sat beside me and said, “You know, my daughter wants to be a writer.” The girl averted her eyes in shyness while her mom asked me questions like, “What’s it like to be a writer? How do you get published? What advice do you have?”

I replied to all her questions, while the 12-year-old listened attentively. I told her to keep writing, keep honing her craft. To find people who will be interested in reading her work.

That was my favourite moment of the day. Click here to find a one minute video of a reading.


About her Book: Nasreen Bastawala is an Indo-Canadian lesbian and burnt-out psychologist who meets and becomes enmeshed in the lives of Shaffiq and Salma Paperwala, new immigrants from Mumbai. Both Shaffiq and Salma develop confusing attractions to Nasreen. For Shaffiq this causes him to bring home and hide things he “finds” in her office. Salma’s crush on Nasreen harkens back memories and regrets about a lesbian affair that ended badly years ago.

Without knowing what is happening, Nasreen becomes the centre of Shaffiq and Salma’s lives. Each keeps a secret about Nasreen, and in so doing risks their marriage, while Nasreen struggles to come to terms with her mother’s death and her recent break-up. An impulsive kiss between Salma and Nasreen sets off a surprising course of events.


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