1.6.08

Silver Tongues

I cringe as iPlayer runs through the opening credits of Women in Black Episode 4 (aired Thursday on BBC2). Why? Because 10 minutes or so into the programme, I will appear in all my fatigued glory, full colour and extremely close up.

I don’t like doing TV. Don’t get me wrong – the process is fun but watching myself is always painful. In the past, I’ve prescribed to the idea that ‘Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard’ but as I said in ‘The Second Coming’, I think I need to engage in shameless self-promotion more often and TV does that if nothing else. Though, luckily, on this occasion, the programme in question was genuinely interesting and insightful.

I do a lot of public speaking so it’s not like I’m one of those sweaty, nervous wrecks in front of an audience (let’s face it, if I can lecture 170 14-year-old boys, I can talk to anyone!), it’s just that as a writer, you’re expected to be highly articulate and wonderfully eloquent, which doesn’t really makes sense: I’m a writer. I write… and delete, rewrite, restructure and so on and so forth. You can’t do that when speaking!


I’ve had friends push me in front of audiences at parties, saying, “You’re a writer. You can make the toast”. Yes, as a writer, words are my tool (as Raef would say) but it doesn’t necessarily make me a good speaker.

As I watch myself on screen, I cringe at the close-ups and can see that I’m talking too fast. It’s okay though. As Hattie will probably point out, at least my hair looks shiny :)

Ok, Criminal Minds is on so I’m off.

11 comments:

  1. just seen the show on iplayer too, really happy to see a muslim sister do well and write with a open mind, i'm off to buy the book online, yes your hair looked nice, you spoke really well, happy birthday

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  2. I caught it on Thursday and thought you came across really well, honestly you have no reason to cringe and as you say, it's genuinely interesting and insightful so for you, in terms of self promotion, I would add dignified.

    More Kia on our screens please =)

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  3. It's a bit of a shame that the sex that you talk and write about was the only thing that made you worth interviewing. You'll never get married now :(

    And do they really do *it* in porn? Sheesh, you learn something new every day...

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  4. Hello Kia,

    Re WIB: whatever your issues with the TV appearance (and the skewed content), you seemed quite relaxed; I'm sure with a few more TV interviews under your belt, you'll have perfected your techniques that bit more and mastered the art of it all.

    Btw, for someone who read your first book I wasn’t expecting the IPlayer WIB synopsis to read:

    >>[...] talks to a young Bangladeshi author who writes erotica [...]

    Have I missed something or are you rebranding yourself?

    Anyway, all the best with your next book release.

    Sofia

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  5. > Mujahid and Josh
    Thanks for your comments :)

    > Sofi
    Lol. No, I'm not rebranding myself. There were a number of 'overly graphic' sex scenes in the first book, which is what they were referring to. I think describing it as 'erotica' was just their ploy to draw more viewers in.

    The second one is definitely not erotica. In fact, the sex scenes are far tamer than the first book :)

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  6. You don't mind the exaggeration?

    You'd be hailed the Taslima Nargis of Britain otherwise.

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  7. > asikha
    I don’t mind the exaggeration, no.

    People who have read my book know the difference. Those who are willing to brand it without having read it don’t really have an opinion worth heeding (http://www.kia-abdullah.com/blog/2007/02/infidel.html) so I think it’s ok.

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  8. I don't know if I'm misunderstood here, but my comment was in reference to the BBC branding your book as erotica. Thought I'd make that clear if it wasn't before.

    And the thing about Hirsi is you don't have to read her book to know her views - she makes enough public appearances talking about her book - enough for people to dislike her and appal her book.

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  9. > Asikha

    To be honest, the answer is the same. I see your point in that the 'erotica' label may put certain readers off who may have otherwise picked the book up but that I don't mind. I've always said if a person happens to pick up my book and enjoy it, then great. If not, that's fine too.

    Perhaps you have a point about Hirsi-Ali but what would you say of Rushdie? He doesn't go around denouncing ISlam and, yes, it's documented that The Satanic Verses is parodying our Prophet, but I would want to read it for myself and form my own opinion.

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  10. I haven't really read Satanic Versus, probably read everything around it - don't think it'll be wise to comment. Although, I do believe writing in the public domain all writers should have a sense of responsibility and if you're touching on community/religious/people sensitivities then you should be careful not to be provocative in a way that insults. That's my feeling about Rushdie. Saying that, I deem him as one of the most creative writers ever and I'm a huge fan of Midnight's Children but haven't got to Satanic Versus to make up my mind about it, same boat as you really.

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  11. Yes Satanic Verses i like Kia wanted to make my own opinion. I don't want to really comment on what he said about Islam cos if you don't already know where have you been for past 10 years? The point i wanna make is that in essence it is a bad book. Not written well lacks structure and a coherent plot. If Muslims ignored it rather than set up book burning publicity events the book would have dissapeared into obscurity.
    Anyways thats my opinion anyone else read it?

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