2018-19 Community Fellow Ahsan Ridha Hassan gave an interview to The List recently, about his experience of coming to IASH to work on his latest novel. He's currently visiting Edinburgh through the Lord Provost's International Residency, where he beat off stiff competition to clinch a month-long residency in the world's first UNESCO City of Literature. It's the first collaborative residency between Edinburgh and Krakow City of Literature and Ahsan is excited to make the most of his stay and thrilled to explore somewhere he describes as 'a magical city with a unique, medieval atmosphere.' He'll be working on a novel while he's here, a totally different beast to the short stories he's known for:
Writing short stories and novels are two completely different activities. When I write a short story I need to have planned everything and, after finishing the story I must be 100 per cent sure that there is not a single word more, than it should be. Mostly when I start writing a short story I know exactly how it will end. Usually writing short stories takes about a week or two.
'Writing novels is totally different. I try to plan the plot, characters, etc., but despite this, during writing, the novel changes itself. It "leads me" to totally different areas than I planned at the beginning. It's amazing but also annoying. I usually need about two years to write a 300 page novel.
You can read the whole interview here.