Writing for me is just a hobby, says pre-teen author
KARACHI: Most 12-year-old boys dream big but rarely end up achieving these lofty goals. Their hobbies often include video games or music.
Hamza Khurram likes to play video games, play the keyboard and hang out with his friends but he has an accomplishment to his name that other kids of his age cannot claim – Hamza is a published author. His first novel, ‘Protectors of the Grael’, a 220-page adventure saga, was written within the span of six months when he was 11-years-old.
“Hamza has been exposed to books since he was very young,” laughed Bushra Khurram, Hamza’s mother. Bushra has trained English language teachers at the British Council and Hamza’s father, Khurram Ali Shafique, is a historian and author specialising on Allama Iqbal. With this parental background, it is no wonder that Hamza chose to pursue writing.
Hamza plans to release the second novel in the trilogy next year. “I wanted [to read] something that was detailed and made me get lost in its world but I couldn’t do that unless I wrote a book,” recalled Hamza. “I’m very glad he’s writing, especially that he’s writing very different kinds of books than what I write, so no one can say he was forced into it,” chuckled Shafique.
“I would keep getting ideas and I would just write them down,” said Hamza, who claims that writing for him is just a hobby. “I’m interested in science and history, I wanted to be a scientist when I was younger,” laughed Hamza. A jack-of-all-trades, the youngster also excels in other fields of study and in 2012 stood third in the world in Mathletics, a point-based online mathematics competition.
“My advice to other writers would be to not tell anyone what you’re doing,” said Hamza, who let very few people know about his hobby. According to him, there is little chance of being discouraged when no one knows what you’re up to. Only a select few knew that he was writing the novel.
His parents edited the self-published book, whose launch was held at the Earlsdon Library in Coventry, England, where Hamza lived prior to moving back to Pakistan this month. In fact, Hamza was a frequent visitor at the library, so much so that he would give the librarians lists of books to order for him. “It’s always nice to have somebody who has such a passion for reading as [Hamza] has,” said a librarian at the ‘Protectors of the Grael’ book launch, in a video recording of the event that Hamza’s parents shared.
“Hamza is a young man who expresses himself loudly through writing,” said Bayan Alshabani, who attended the book launch, in an email interview with The Express Tribune.
Despite moving to another country and having to start over at a new school, Hamza isn’t all that worried about the toll it will take on his writing. He believes continuity is an important factor in writing and is adamant that this upheaval will not influence his writing.“I definitely want to continue writing but I wouldn’t do it as a job, I’d do it just for fun,” he said. “You can fully express yourself [in writing] and there are no limits if you know what words to [use],” explained Hamza.