Where are you writing from today?
My writing room in North London. We just moved into this house and I’ve commandeered the top floor and painted the floors pink. It’s my happy place.
What excites you about judging the 2021 Sunday Times / Charlotte Aitken Trust Young Writer of the Year Award?
It’s a privilege to read the work of a new generation of novelists, biographers, nature writers, and poets. Their stories, preoccupations, obsessions, anxieties, and joys are a reflection of how we live, and want to live, in today’s world.
What interests you about new writing?
It is diverse in every possible way – genre, politics, writing style. There’s a polyphony that is delightful and joyous.
What are you hoping for in the submissions this year, and what are you looking for in an emerging writer?
I want a writer to make me care. I want the stakes to be high, for the writer to show me their ambition. I want to go on a journey – and if the writing is good, I will follow a writer anywhere.
Why is it important that we support new voices, at this point in time in particular?
We’re at a moment in history where everything feels tenuous and fragile – even the very ground we stand on is under threat. It is more important than ever to support a new generation of writers, so that they may go out into the world and chronicle what is about to happen.
What are you reading at the moment and what do you like about it?
I’m reading, and loving, Monica Ali’s new book, Love Marriage – her best work yet.
Tahmima Anam is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and anthropologist. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Granta Best Young British Novelist, and winner of an O Henry Prize and a Commonwealth Writers Prize. Her work has been published in Granta, The New York Times, and The Guardian. She was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and lives in London.