In Conversation with Zoha Khalid

In today’s blog, we at Daastan are introducing you to Zoha Khalid. Zoha is the author of the poetry collection ‘Rhyming Life’. Mulaika Qureshi from our Marketing Team interviewed Zoha and learned all about her writing journey. Without further ado, let’s dive into Zoha’s writing journey.

Meet Zoha Khalid

Zoha is a Communications and Project Management professional. However, she describes herself as a poet at heart. She belongs to Islamabad. Currently, Zoha is residing in Canada where she is a graduate student at Queen’s University Kingston. Rhyming Life is Zoha’s debut poetry book. Zoha began her writing journey in her childhood. The genes of writing is something Zoha got from her grandfather who was also a poet.

“I have found poetry to be a medium for things I cannot communicate otherwise. When I am writing a poem, it just opens so much space to express myself.” 

Moreover, we asked Zoha what inspires her to write and her response was poetic. “Life. People. Curiosity. Why do people do or live in a certain way? What’s the reason behind any action? This curiosity about life and people inspires me,” says Zoha. 

Zoha Khalid
Zoha Khalid with her book Rhyming Life

Zoha Khalid talks about Rhyming Life

Rhyming life is a collection of poems Zoha has written in the last couple of years. “The idea behind ‘Rhyming Life’ is that life is everything you can imagine and everything you cannot imagine”, says Zoha. Zoha shared an interesting thing about some of her poems. She told Mulaika that she used to write in between her political science classes when she couldn’t grasp certain concepts any other way. 

“The only thing certain about life is its uncertainty. As soon as we understand this, it is easier to navigate (rhyme) life. I have tried to express that in my poems in Rhyming Life.” 

Storytelling in Pakistan

Zoha believes the future of storytelling seems promising in Pakistan. According to Zoha, young storytellers are making themselves heard these days. They are courageous enough to explore their talents and bet on it. She also shared her own experience as a poet in the Pakistani society. Zoha says, “Being a woman, it is twice as hard to be a writer in a society like ours.” However, she is hopeful seeing the enthusiasm of emerging storytellers.

“I love how they reach out and discover ways to make their voices heard. It again suffices as the theme of my book. Storytellers are rhyming life.”

Zoha’s future plans

Like so many of us Zoha had a lot of plans before Covid took the world by storm.

“There were many plans, but as with any other thing, the pandemic has hit everything hard. I am slowly working on more poems. The theme will be connected to Rhyming Life but will have a different vibe. I am also looking into including a genre of satire, which would be fun.”

Message to Aspiring Authors

Even though Rhyming Life is Zoha’s first book, she has been writing poetry since a very long time. Therefore, she has plenty of wisdom when it comes to writing. However, there’s one advice she received in the beginning of her writing journey that she wants to share with the world.

“When I was doing my internship with one of the research think tanks in Islamabad, Sir Mushir Anwar (may his soul rest in peace) was the editor of their journal. I showed him the draft of one of my write-ups and he appreciated the effort. Moreover, he gave me this advice which I can never forget; he said to me, In life, you will get rejected many times, people will discourage you many times, your best write-ups might not make it to the publication, but remember, ‘NEVER STOP WRITING. Remember, NEVER STOP WRITING.”

Daastan wishes Zoha best of luck for her future endeavours. You can order her book Rhyming Life here. For more literary goodness, stay tuned.

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Noor Hashmi
Noor Hashmi is a student of literature at Numl University. She is an aspiring poetess. She runs a blog by the name of “Diaries of Huda” sharing her journey through poetry. In her free time, she loves to paint and bake.

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