Bishop's Stortford author Hina Belitz to appear at special Waterstones event in London
Bishop’s Stortford novelist Hina Belitz is set to appear at a special Waterstones event in London aimed at challenging the expectations of Asian women.
The author, who lives in Havers Lane, was invited to take part in the event, in collaboration with writers’ association English Pen, ahead of the publication next month of her second novel, To Lahore, With Love.
Hina, who was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hampshire after her family moved to the UK when she was an infant, is passionate about normalising Asian stories, particularly within women’s fiction, and challenging common misconceptions.
Her latest novel is a feel-good journey of discovery centred on an Irish-Pakistani woman who grapples with the two sides of her upbringing after unearthing a family secret.
She will be appearing at the event at the Gower Street branch of Waterstones on Wednesday March 4 alongside two of her contemporaries, Indian poet Meena Kandasamy and Indonesian writer Intan Paramaditha. They will each read excerpts from their latest works of fiction followed by a discussion and audience Q&A.
Hina, a married mum of two who juggles her novel writing with a career as an equal rights lawyer, said: “I think it's really important that there are diverse voices in novels and that the endless Asian and other BAME [black, Asian, minority ethnic] stories are shared with the world.
“We need to challenge the expectation that Asians will only write Asian stories. There's a tendency to put people into boxes and this can be very damaging because if you don't have experience of people who are different from you, a single story about that person or culture can lead to unfair bias, discrimination and worse.
“I see novels as a wonderful way to meet the heart and soul of a person you may never meet in real life. I also believe good stories are like bridges that connect people.”
Tickets for the Waterstones event are £10 (students £8) and include a drink. Full details are available at www.waterstones.com/events.
More by this authorPaul Winspear