Abeer Hoque is a Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer. She published a book of linked stories, poems, and photographs called The Lovers and the Leavers (Bengal Lights Books, 2014; HarperCollins India 2015; Harper360 2015), and a monograph of travel photographs and poems called The Long Way Home (Ogro Bangladesh, 2013). Her memoir, Olive Witch, was published by HarperCollins India in 2016 and by Harper360 in 2017. She is the recipient of a 2014 NYFA grant, a 2012 NEA Literature Fellowship, a 2007 Fulbright Scholarship, and the 2005 Tanenbaum Award, and has received writing fellowships to attend Sacatar, Saltonstall Arts Colony, SLS St. Petersburg, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Albee Foundation. Her writing and photography has been published in Guernica, ZYZZYVA, Outlook Traveller, 580 Split, Drunken Boat, India Today, the Daily Star, the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, and KQED Writers Block, among others. She has BS and MA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco, and she has held two solo photography exhibitions. She lives in New York City.
In this episode, Arlan interviews Abeer Hoque, the author of Olive Witch: A Cross Cultural Memoir. At 13-years-old, Hoque moved with her family to suburban Pittsburgh from Nigeria. Told through a mix of prose, poems and weather reports, the book follows her life attempting to fit in as a third-culture kid, including her stay at a psychiatric ward in Philadelphia and her travels to family’s home country of Bangladesh.
In this episodes Hoque discusses:
- Third culture literature and what it means to be a third culture kid
- How her cross-cultural upbringing informed her writing style
- How her photography aesthetic affected the framing and structure of the book
- How she gets her writing ideas
- What she enjoys writing and how she uses it as a form of activism
Mentioned This Episode
- “How can I make something familiar unfamiliar. How can we look at it again?” – Abeer Hoque
- “I find the personal story to be the most compelling way to change someone’s mind or to show them a different perspective.” – Abeer Hoque
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