Interview with longlisted author Ahmed Menour


When did you begin writing Storm Over the Islands and where did the inspiration for it come from?

I began writing Storm Over the Islands at the beginning of January 2021. Most of its events were inspired by true-life happenings, some of which I had personally gone through, others I had seen or heard about. I lived in the Comoros and was seconded to teach Arabic Language to secondary school students in Mutsamudu on the island of Anjouan and in the Mohammed Said Al-Sheikh secondary school in the capital, Moroni. That was from December 1977 until 15th August 1979.      

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

Writing Storm took exactly nine months and ten days. I spent three hours a day writing it, on some days writing more and on others, less. I began it on Friday, 9th January 2021 and finished it, by coincidence, on Friday 10th September 2021. 

Do you have writing rituals?

I don’t have special rituals, apart from the fact that I prefer to write in the morning at home, immediately after having breakfast, and I like to drink a single black coffee while writing.   

What is your next literary project after this novel?

At the moment, I am writing the second part of Storm Over the Islands. It’s called After a Quarter of a Century and is set in Paris and Algeria. I have written seven chapters so far.