Interview with shortlisted author Tareq Bakari
Where were you at the shortlist announcement and what was your reaction to the news?
The day of the shortlist announcement I was in Tahanaout city on the outskirts of Marrakesh. I knew the announcement would be broadcast live on a particular channel and, because of the time difference, I had to wake up early. I was very happy that Numedia found itself a place on the shortlist.
What does it mean to you to be shortlisted?
Being on the shortlist is a confirmation that I am taking confident steps towards my goal. It is also a triumph for Numedia and an important opportunity to win the trust of a large readership and novel lovers.
Do you have writing rituals?
I only write in the afternoon, starting from 2 pm until sunset. I love complete silence and isolation. I love to write on paper. I am strict when it comes to respecting my reading and writing schedule. Coffee is my companion when writing. I prefer quiet so I do not write in public spaces or with music on.
Why do you write? And for whom?
Who do I write for? I write for everyone whose life has been plagued with the love of literature, for those who believe in its usefulness and its huge cultural role. I write for history.
As for why I write, I would say as a kind of healing. For those with broken souls, writing is an opportunity to rebuild what was destroyed in them, an opportunity for reconciling with oneself and for settling accounts with one’s memory. Why do I write? Perhaps because it is what I am best at. I write so that life may be right, and because I find that writing has a purifying purpose for me and for the reader.
Which writers have influenced you, as a novelist?
Many writers have influenced me; mostly Naguib Mahfouz who got me interested in literature. After him, many writers and texts have impacted me. Internationally, I was influenced by Dostoyevsky, Kafka and Marquez.