Fatima Bhutto’s surname is instantly recognisable. As the niece of former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto - who was assassinated by Al-Qaida in 2007 – and the granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the social democratic Pakistan Peoples Party, to say she’s part of a political dynasty is an understatement. Now Fatima, 31, has released her debut novel. The story focuses on two women, Mina and Samarra, chronicling three hours on the morning of Eid - by noon, Samarra’s actions will have had a seismic impact on the lives of everyone. Nathalie Olah caught up with Fatima about the book …
Grazia: Why did you choose a short time frame for the story?
Fatima Bhutto: There’s a Western concept of time and there’s an Eastern one. In Pakistan, we’re not always looking towards the end point. When people ask me what I’d like to accomplish this year I say, “Why a year? What happens after that?” For me, it’s important to see things as a journey that never ends.
Grazia: There are very strong female characters in the book. Samarra is particularly feisty ..
Fatima Bhutto: There’s a strength in Samarra that you find in Pakistani women. Many Pakistani women are troublesome and disturb the natural order. We should all be disturbing whatever natural order prevents us from reaching our fullest expression.
Grazia: Have you faced adversity as a woman writer?
Fatima Bhutto: My work has been censored, mainly for political reasons. Women’s voices need to be heard everywhere, not just in Pakistan. I hate seeing debates between men in America about women’s reproductive rights. I hate it when Rick Perry [Governor of Texas] tells me what a woman’s body should be.
Fatima's debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is availible now through Viking Press, priced £14.99