Interview with Farzeen Ashik, 2017 Montegrappa Writing Prize runner-up


What inspired you to start writing?

I have always been an avid reader and every time I read a great book I’m inspired to write one in the hope that it will move someone somewhere in the world. Also, I was on a sabbatical from work last year and this gave me the time and opportunity to get down to pen a few lines after years of just dreaming about it.

Who are your favourite authors?

I went through a lot of phases as a reader. My first love was Enid Blyton, of course. Her school stories, mysteries and adventures just opened the world of books to me. I was hooked from the moment I picked my first book which was The Rub-a-Dub Mystery. I enjoyed John Grisham, Frederick Forsyth and Ken Follett too. Most recently I have been enjoying Patrick Gale, Robert Harris and Frederick Backman.

Could you tell us a little bit about your winning entry?

My book Rainbow Dorm Diaries – The Yellow Dorm is based on my personal experiences in an Indian boarding school. We had a fantastic time and I really wanted to recreate those golden days. The book has some quirky characters who are imperfect but lovable and I’m sure the reader will enjoy their topsy-turvy ride in their new school.

What was it like winning the Montegrappa Writing Prize 2017?

It was an absolute surprise but a wonderful one too! It also gave me a boost in confidence that I must be doing something right after all, especially since I’m not a writer by profession, only passion!

What’s next for you and your writing?

My book has been published by Partridge and will be out in stores and will be available online as well as for purchase. I do hope it will be well-received. I am planning to make it into a series and so I will start working on the sequel shortly. Right now my aim is to get my book out there and getting it off the shelves soon!