A Conversation with Saudi poet Nimah Nawwab

After school on Friday evening, my mum took me to a poetry event where Nimah Nawwab, a famous poet from Saudi Arabia was performing.  Saleha Begum, a local poet from Birmingham also read her poems from her new book called Ruptures and Fragments.

Before everyone arrived, I met Nimah and interviewed her about her new book, Canvas of the Soul. Her first book, Unfurling was a best seller.  She told me that her the poems in Canvas of the Soul are short and highly spiritual and very different to those in her first book, which were political and social.

Nimah explained that Saudi Arabia has has a rich history of poetry.  In ancient times, poetry was popular and people from different parts of the world would visit and have poetry competitions.  The winning poems would be written in gold and hung on the Kabbah.  She says poetry in Saudi Arabia is still popular and used at weddings and traditional ceremonies.

Nimah also gave me a long list of her favourite poets from all over the world from past and present. Some of these included, Jalaludin Rumi, Rabia Basri, as well as Japanese and African American poets.

It was really interesting and fun to interview Nimah Nawwab!

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Bollywood Brothers

Recently I met two Bollywood stars, the Deol Brothers, Bobby Deol and Sunny Deol – can you believe that? 

My uncle, Asjad Nazir, knows lots of famous people and took us (my mum,  my brother and I) to the film set for Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, where Bobby Deol was shooting a scene on his ‘four looks.’  He would start off facing forward and when the director said first look, he looked to his right. Then the director said second look and he faced forward again from where he started.  His third look was little to the left and his fourth one all the way to the left! While he was acting he looked very cold and was shivering – acting is not always as glamorous as you may think.

When he finished shooting, my uncle interviewed him while we listened to Bobby’s answers – I was sitting next to him! At the end of the interview I was planning to ask him something and when it came to the end, I asked: “Bobby Deol Sir, please may i have you autograph.” By the time I left i had a    piece of paper that was signed by  him saying: “To Aaliyah, lots of love, Bobby Deol….

Next it was time to meet Sunny Deol, his older brother.  We took a walk to a hotel where Sunny was staying and met him inside his room.  Then my uncle interviewed Sunny Deol.  At the end of the interview, I also asked him if I could have his autograph.  By the time I left, I had a piece of paper that was signed by Sunny Deol saying: “Dear Aaliyah, wish you all the best, love Sunny Deol.”