Omair Ahmad is a versatile writer and speaker that we were fortunate to listen to June 10. His background were sent to us so here is is:
“I grew up in Saudi Arabia and India, did my BA from Gorakhpur (my home town in UP), an MA in Politics (International Studies) from JNU in Delhi, and a second MA in International Relations from Syracuse University in New York state. My MA thesis was focussed on social and economic opportunities in J&K, looking at how to win back freedoms lost during the violence of the last couple of decades. I’ve worked with think tanks in the US and India, as well as with news organisations in both countries (Voice of America and Outlook magazine). I’ve also worked with the British High Commission in New Delhi as a political adviser, as well as the Conservative Party in the UK.
Penguin India published a novella of mine, “The Storyteller’s Tale” last year, which also came out in France and the UK, and is due to come out in Spain and Germany. Penguin will also be publishing my next novel “Jimmy the Terrorist” possibly by October, which was shortlisted for the Man Asian literary prize last year. I write occasional reviews and op-eds for various publications, including India Today, Open Magazine, Mint, Hindustan Times, Deccan Herald, Asian Age, and others.”
Currently he is Programme Executive at FNST – a German liberal thinktank with a South Asian office.
Impressive ? Yes, but he knew that is position as a sought after writer is rare. He writes on commission, unlike the interns who must approach media themselves.
His advices were many but the main argument was that there must be a news angle/story to the articles and they must be readable, Converting research papers to articles is challenging but not impossible. Just think of the What, Why, How to write and then When and Where to get it published. Human interest sells better and short sentences reads better. Never exceed the word limit set by editors and make sub-headings if longer thatn 600 words. And dont cry if your articles neither has the title, nor the content and structure you hoped for.
Thanks Omair !
Jan, Leah and the 2010 interns