The Three Rs: Farzana Doctor

December 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Farzana Doctor is a novelist and psychotherapist. Her most recent novel, Six Metres of Pavement, was named one of Now Magazine’s Top Ten Books of 2011. It also won the Lambda Literary and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award. Farzana was named as one of CBC Books’ “Ten Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now”. She is the autumn 2012 Writer in Residence at the Toronto Public Library and co-curates the Brockton Writers Series.

When did you first know you wanted to write books?

When I was halfway through writing the first draft of my first novel, Stealing Nasreen, I realized I was writing a novel. Before that, I hadn’t really imagined writing a book.

What does your day look like while you’re writing a book?

It varies, because I have other paid work (as a psychotherapist and recently as the Writer-In-Residence at the Toronto Public Library). However, on a typical writing day, I spend about 2 hours writing in the morning. Then I walk my dog, which is a good time to daydream about my work. Sometimes I get ideas which I note in my iphone. Then I come back to the writing for a few more hours. Interspersed are short social media breaks (these days, writers have to maintain their online presence as a self-promotion strategy). On more distracted days, the breaks also include vacuuming, laundry and multiple cups of tea.

Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor

Do you type or write?

I nearly always type. Once in a while, I scribble notes on paper.

Do you read while you’re writing?

Yes. I feel like reading keeps a writer’s mind working. Everything I know about literary fiction has come from reading literary fiction.

What have you read recently that you really loved?

I just finished Emma Donoghue’s book of short stories, Astray. I’m a huge fan of her writing.

What are your all-time favourites?

Everything written by Zadie Smith, MG Vassanji, Barbara Gowdy.

You can either write or read for the rest of your life – but not both. Which do you choose?

What a horrible proposition! If I had to choose, I’d write.

What’s your third R, and why?

Romancing! I like dating. I take my love life very seriously.


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