25th Trillium Award

The Festival Series: Five Questions with Jasmine Aziz

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Jasmine Aziz (Photo Credit: Andre Scott)

Another wonderful season of literary festivals is on the way and what better way to celebrate than with a series about festivals.

Open Book speaks with Jasmine Aziz, the author of Sex & Samosas. Jasmine attended the Ottawa Writers Festival last April and tells us about her favourite moment.

Open Book:

Tell us about the first literary festival you attended.

Jazmine Aziz:

The Ottawa Writers Festival marked my festival debut. As far as ?first? times go, this virgin festival author couldn?t have asked for a better experience! I was extremely honoured to be asked to read with the panel of writers and to be part of the festival?s lineup. For an independent author it?s a special kind of thrill to be included among traditionally published writers and to have your work respectfully recognized. I joked about sleeping with my badge on all week because I was so proud of it and were it not for the paper cuts, I probably would have.


What was your favourite moment at the Ottawa Writers Festival?


I have two favourite moments from the Ottawa Writers Festival. The first was speaking to someone who came up to me after my reading to tell me that they had read my novel and that it incited them to make a change in their life. They told me that they enjoyed the reading so much that it inspired them to pursue their own dream of writing. The second was being handed my pass in an envelope and mistaking the content of it for a wrapped up condom. I was happy either way!


Why do you think literary festivals are important?


There is a tremendous amount of value in the diversity of opinions and writing styles that literary festivals offer not only to aspiring authors but also to readers. In my opinion, festivals offer a forum for discussion on a wide variety of subjects told through various mediums, which can educate, enlighten and engage broader thinking. I celebrate festivals that encourage open thinking and creative inspiration.


When it?s time to take the stage, what do you like most about being in the spotlight?


I almost threw up three times before heading out to the festival, so to be quite frank, taking to the spotlight doesn?t come as naturally to me as people might think. What I enjoy most is hearing the reaction of my words spoken reflected in the laughter of the audience. There simply is no greater high for me. Plus I think the spotlight makes me look taller, so I?m happy for the added boost too.


Will you be attending any other festivals this year?


I have been invited and will participate in the Niagara Literary Festival in June and the Eden Mills Literary Festival in Guelph in September of this year.

Jasmine Aziz's debut novel, Sex & Samosas was released in October 2011 and sold out its first print run in four months. She is currently working on her next two projects. The first is a novel and the second is a memoir titled, Bring Your Own Batteries.

Visit the Open Book Archives for more Festival Series interviews.

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