Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Abdul-Ahad Patel

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Native

Abdul-Ahad Patel

was born in Hackney, London. He works as a criminal justice substance-misuse worker and is a writer of fiction stories and poetry. He has been published on Visual Verse anthology and has self-published a fiction novel titled ‘Native’. He has also featured in the upcoming film ‘The Informer’.

Facebook – facebook.com/AbdulAhadPatel…

Twitter – twitter.com/AbdulAhad_Patel

Instagram – instagram.com/AbdulAhad_Patel

Website – AbdulAhadPatel.com

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start to write poetry?

I first started poetry maybe April 2017. I had my second date with my now wife Sarah, we went to watch the action remake of Beauty & The Beast. Sarah bought me a notepad with a hip bunny on it with an eye patch and carrot for Easter. She knew I wrote fiction so, the present was thoughtful.

I initially started using it to write quotes and small poems when things sparked to mind. The first one I wrote was called ’Ghost’ and I’d draw a picture at the bottom. I quite like odd titles for poems and quirky images that have nothing to do with the poem. Something that’s maybe more relatable in my head but not to everyone else.

To be honest, because I was working on my Novel NATIVE I didn’t really take poetry seriously until last year October after the release of my Novel. I had more flexibility with my writing; I read Rakaya Esime Fetuga’s poem “Shine” and was really taken back by it. In a way it kind of made me think there’s a lot of stuff I want to express I should really start expressing through poetry. Rakaya is an amazing person I messaged her and showed her some of my stuff and she gave me some good advice and support. Even then I didn’t really take it that seriously I would mainly write poetry because with work and training I didn’t always have time to work on my next novel. It was a way to keep my creative writing alive on a daily basis.

1.1 What took you back in Rakaya’s poem?

When I write fiction it’s escapism for me. Reading her poem called ’Shine’ gave me a sense of belonging, pride and joy. The way she beautifully describes what it means to be a black British Muslim. It made me feel like I didn’t need to run away through my craft, it made me feel like I can acknowledge good and bad of who I am and express that through poetry.

1.2. What made you read her poetry in the beginning?

I saw it on Instagram just scrolling the feed.

2. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I’m not an expert, but I grew up on rap and hip-hop and as I became older I liked the work of Rumi, Benjamin Zephaniah, Akala and Suli Breaks and now the new generation like Rakaya, Caleb Femi, Birdspeed, Broken Pen and Solomon OB.

3. What is your daily writing routine?

Oh man, it’s hectic in an organised way. I have my own calendar for writing on my phone. Basically, I treat my routine similar to how I was with boxing. I wake up 7 am every morning and work on a variety of stuff from my novel, short stories, editing and poems. Every evening I set 30 minutes away minimum to read also a variety of things. Editing books, script writing, novels and comics.

4. Is this need for belonging what motivates your writing?

Nah, I write because I’m passionate I love what I do. Poetry is a great way to express life’s experiences.

5. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

When I was young I read a lot of comics. I actually have dyslexia and didn’t want people to outcast me or single me out. I didn’t want the extra attention or support I wanted to be normal like everyone else. So, I read a lot my dad used to buy me comics pretty much every weekend Conan The Barbarian, Spider-man and Batman. Stan Lee and Bill Finger have a huge influence on my writing today. In fact, I still until this day read comics and graphic novels for inspiration.

5.1. How do they inspire you?

Well, writing about people that go through hardship, obstacles and beat bad guys to save the world or others is always quite inspiring. Not just that but the art, the storyline, the running themes they all coincide to a big picture. When you look at it from a wider perspective you start to think to yourself ’wow these writers are doing amazing things alongside great artist.’ It’s a huge project and fair play to them they deliver.

6. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Paulo Coelho is my favourite. The Alchemist changed my life and many other people I know. Umm Khalil Gibran I love his versatility in his works of prose and poetry, Scott Snyder adapting and creating a new era of Batman stories that are dark and keep you on the edge, Freddie Williams II does some amazing art as well as prose, he works on some crazy creative projects like He-Man and the masters of the universe Vs Thundercats and He-Man and the masters of the universe Vs Injustice Gods amongst us. George R. R. Martin could never forget this man. The whole song of ice and fire series, all his earlier work from 1971-2019 he is still present. That’s what you call an astonishing work ethic and legacy, I’m sure all writers hope to gain.

6.1 How did The Alchemist change your life?

It gave me a sense of direction, it allowed me to think about where I was at that point in my life and stop being so complacent with certain things and situations. It also made me think about my dreams and goals in life I loved how Santiago was like any other person dealing with all life problems. But, the image of the pyramids was always the goal in the long run. I often think about how much time I have left on this planet my grandmother always used to say to me in Creole ’Tou pu an important zoum an zor.’ which translates to ’You will become an important man one day.’ I’m still trying to figure out what that is but, I think writing has something to do with that.

7. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I’d say write anything and everything you want, as crazy and as farfetched it may be. There’s no boundaries and limitations to writing. Read loads; read anything and everything you can get your hands on especially your favourite authors earlier works. Look at how they have developed and progressed. Use a highlighter and sticky notes when reading, dissect sections, highlight favourite bits and research parts that are unknown to you. Be willing to accept criticism and rejection, but also be ready to battle through those times. Learn from it and keep plodding forward, most of all enjoy the process and don’t forget why you initially started writing.

8. Tell me about a writing project that you are involved in at the moment.

I’m working on tonnes of things at the moment novels, short stories and poetry. But the one that comes to mind is my novella ’Escape, ’ it’s about an orphan boy from Venezuela that runs away from care as he battles through the many hardships of poverty in search for a better life. I’m hopeful it may be picked up by publishers before summer ends, but if not then I have an amazing team of editors and artist that will successfully accompany me down the self-publishing route again. Lastly, I’ll be headlining Cheltenham Poetry Festival on April 26th 7 pm at The Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham. I’ll be reading a passage from ’NATIVE’ and performing some of my poetry. Tickets are now available

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