Emirates Airline Festival of Literature: In Her Own Words

2 min read

With 2018's edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature taking place this week, March 2 - 10, three of its female authors put pen to paper in MOJEH Issue 55, as they discuss their past, present and future. Here's a sneak peek...

“I never think of myself as female or male when it comes to my work. I grew up as a tomboy with a handful of brothers, I went to a very male university — the ratio was seven men to one woman at my Oxford college — and I was the first woman to be employed in corporate finance by my investment bank. But being female did ignite my career as a writer. When I couldn’t find a financial thriller with a heroine at its centre (rather than as a love interest) I wrote one. No-one was writing financial thrillers at the time. Investment banking was a closed world to outsiders so I was lucky. The publishing industry jumped at this new genre, written with a female eye. For my entire seven-year career as an investment banker, I’d had to kick down doors. This time, as an author, I tapped and the door flew open.”

Linda Davies is the author of Nest of Vipers (November 2015), Longbow Girl (September 2015), and Ark Storm (August 2014). She has lived in Peru and Dubai, and currently resides with her family in the English countryside

“I am a writer; a woman who writes, but I have chosen not to hide behind an acronym such as J.K. Rowling or E.L. James. My job, like any other writer, is to tell stories that portray a wide range of people, something that I believe men and women are equally capable of doing.

“This wasn’t always my view. As a naive 18-year-old, newly arrived in London, I had one of my first real literary awakenings when I read Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. As I sped through the thumbed, second-hand copy from a quaint little antique shop, I was in awe of Tolstoy’s craft, especially how he, as a ‘male writer’, managed to portray Anna’s struggles and emotions so well.

“It was only later, as I begun to write myself, that I realised how judgmental my thinking had been. Why shouldn’t he write well from a female perspective? As an author, you’re required to get under other people’s skin regardless of their gender. That’s the fun of it: you get to explore someone who is completely different from you. It’s a learning process.”

Jessica Jarlvi is the author of When I Wake Up (June, 2017) and What Did I Do? (due out in May 2018). When I Wake Up has featured on bestseller lists in both America and Australia

“I bring to my craft a catalogue of experiences — a man telling me what kind of doctor a woman should not become, feeling the first utter of movement in a pregnancy, and the conversation with a salesman who insisted on speaking to my husband so that he could make a financial decision for our household. I know what it is to have my actions judged differently. I know what it is to have my aspirations be met with skepticism. I know what it is to hear my daughter call me pretty.

“Thus, I write as a woman.”

Nadia Hashimi is the author of A House Without Windows (August 2016). An internationally bestselling writer, she is of Afghan descent and is an advocate for women’s rights