Nasser Hashmi’s north-west roots have informed most of his early work like Season of Sid and A Fistful of Dust but he has recently branched out to tackle more challenging, global issues like phone hacking (Wacko Hacko) and the Salman Rushdie affair (In a Rushdie Winter).
Nasser is a writer who is interested in the times we live in – and believes there is no more fascinating time in the world than right now. It’s a novelist job to illuminate the lives of people in a certain era and he would be failing in his duty if he didn’t at least try to chip away at this basic truth.
At school, Nasser failed all his exams. This may have been because he had Epilepsy at the age of 12 and had undiagnosed Coeliac Disease from pre-school age. Both these diseases are under control now. But it also may have also been because he wasn’t very academic. Some writers are; some aren’t. Some are daydreamers. Some bang their head against desks because they’ve had a seizure. The only requirement for a novelist is a hazy image and a junkie-like thirst for sentences. Also keeping DVD on loop is handy: Determination, Vision, Determination, Vision, Determination…you get the picture.
After school, Nasser drifted into jobs in restaurants, factories and motor insurance companies before trying to get back into higher education as a mature student. He somehow got a degree and then broke into local journalism by blagging an interview with a deputy editor of a paper while she was on a course. From that came, a sports sub-editing job on the Sunday Mirror where he tried to write fancy headlines.
Now, however, Nasser is a full-time writer and also looks after his two children during the day. He is reminded of his days as a full-time journalist when the only questions drummed into him by his news chiefs were: Who? Why? What? When? Why? How? Now, the children are the best cub reporters in the world. Who? Why? What? Daddy? And on it goes…