Shubnum Khan (1985 – ) is a Durban born writer. She has an Honours degree in Media Studies, summa cum laude and a Master’s degree in English Studies, cum laude from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban. She began her first novel, Onion Tears, for her dissertation in Creative Writing under the supervision of South African poet, Kobus Moolman. The manuscript was subsequently short-listed for the 2009 Citizen Book Prize and for the Penguin Prize for African Writing in 2010. The novel was published by Penguin in 2011 and was selected for the Exclusive Books Homebru list that year.
Shubnum teaches Creative Writing and Media Studies at UKZN. She is a freelance journalist and cartoonist and has published for a number of publications including Al Qalam newspaper, and O, the Oprah magazine.
Note: The interview was conducted at the just ended 15th Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, South Africa.
GeosiReads: Is it your first time at the festival?
SK: It is my first time participating but I have attended before.
GR: Your impressions?
SK: Great. It is an intimate festival with interaction with writers.
GR: Do you write longhand?
SK: No. I write on a computer.
GR: Have you had any rejections before?
GR: When did you begin to write?
SK: When I was a teenager but started a novel at 21.
GR: Do you write full time?
SK: No. Mostly, writers in South Africa can’t afford to be full time writers.
GR: What theme(s) do you write on?
SK: About women, identity issues like being African and also of Indian women.
GR: Any favourite books?
SK: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and Life and Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee.