Soniah Kamal, a Pakistani-American writer, recently came to UWG to do a book reading. She has written two novels titled Unmarriageable and An Isolated Incident. The novel Unmarriageable was the topic of discussion for the event. Out of the two novels, Unmarriageable is what really brought Kamal her most praise.
At the reading, Kamal discussed how she was born in Pakistan then moved to England. She also lived in Saudi Arabia, before settling into the states. Growing up in Pakistan was an interesting experience for Kamal, where she had a strict household. Growing up Kamal wanted to become an actress. She spent her days watching films, and admiring how actresses were portrayed in movies.
It was not until one day when her mother came home from work that Kamal mentioned to her mother that she wanted to be an actress that her mother turned that dream down for her. In Pakistan culture, women who become actresses are deemed as being prostitutes. Women in Pakistan were to grow up and have domestic jobs, not jobs that have to do with the film industry.
When Kamal was about twelve years old, her aunt gave her the novel Pride and Prejudice. After receiving the novel, Kamal opened the book to the first page and decided she was not going to read it. A few years later, once Kamal was about sixteen years old, she ran across the book again and decided to read the novel. After reading the novel, she began this fascination with rewriting the novel based in Pakistan.
Kamal noticed that many of the novels she had read, none of the settings were based in Pakistan, so she went on a mission to create an alternative novel similar to Pride and Prejudice but based in her home country. With reading the book, she enjoyed the basis of the novel. The different aspects of love, marriage and many other themes throughout the novel.
Kamal has dedicated her life to writing novels rooting back to her heritage, while also intertwined new concepts. Kamal currently teaches at Reinhardt University in Georgia. She teaches creative writing to a vast amount of students at the university.
From listening to Soniah Kamal tell her story, the main concepts that deemed the most important are being proud of your identity. Kamal is able to write novels as well as teach students different genres of writing through her Pakistani culture. No matter what ethnic background, we should be able to tell our story through numerous platforms in a variety of ways.
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