Interview with longlisted author Sultan Al Ameemi


When did you begin writing One Room Is Enough and where did the inspiration for it come from?

The idea for One Room Is Enough had been with me for more than a year before I began it at the writing workshop held by the prize in late 2014. I can say that the idea for it was formed when I merged two ideas from which I had originally intended to write two separate books. Then I decided to merge them in one work. The first idea was about Qarwash the grandfather, the subject of the novel. The second was about someone shut in a room who has to face life alone with his jailer in that prison. 

Did the novel take long to write and where were you when you finished it?

I don't begin writing my novels until I have completely finished writing them in my mind, with all the details and chapters, from beginning to end. This stage took more than a year and after that I put pen to paper. The second stage took a whole year and for a large part of it I needed complete isolation. I wrote most of the novel in a peaceful area of north London. Afterwards I returned to Abu Dhabi and completed the writing of the ending. And here I'd like to say that I revised the novel many times after finishing it, before submitting it for publication.

How have readers and critics received it?

It's had a wonderful reception. Before it was published, as I usually do, I gave copies to a group of friends who are critics and readers, to gauge their reactions and hear their impressions and comments. I benefited a lot from what they had to say, and after it was published it had a great reception by readers and critics.

What is your next literary project after this novel?

I have returned to writing short stories which will form the material of my fourth collection of short stories. I am also ruminating upon an idea for a coming novel, trying to bring it to maturity, but at the moment I don't know when I will start writing it.

(This interview can be read in Arabic here)