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Voice of Kurdish-American Radio for Democracy, Peace and Freedom
Gian Sardar; VOKRadio interview. Interviews with Kurdish Writers Series چاپ ارسال به دوست
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Gian Sardar; VOKRadio interview

Interviews with Kurdish Writers Series

Gian Sardar Photo public domain  

March 26, 2018
Exclusive; VOKRadio, Los Angeles

In observance and honor of International Women's Day/Month, Voice of Kurdish American Radio for Democracy, Peace, and Freedom, from the U.S, in collaboration with the organization World Women for Life (WWFL), conducted interviews with women identified writers from Kurdish decent. In this series, we learn about the lives and work of these talented writers, as they share with us the inspiration behind their work and contribute their insightful wisdom on working as Kurdish writers in today's world.

In these interviews, we learn about the writer's backgrounds, interests, their role models, motivations, the role of mother tongue and relationship to other languages, as well as their take on feminism in their writing, experiences of gender-based discrimination, and misogyny.

These writers work in diverse fields and span different genres of writing. Some are accomplished authors of novels, while others work in journalism, poetry, and non-fiction.

Please introduce yourself the way you would like to be introduced to our audience.

My name is Gian Sardar and I'm an American author of Kurdish/Belgian descent. My father is from Kurdistan of Iraq.

Please introduce your book/books or any published work that you may have.

Most recently, I wrote a novel called "YOU WERE HERE" which was published in May of 2016.
The story is literary suspense and centers around a character who has been plagued by recurring nightmares and is hoping to put a stop to them by solving a mystery she's uncovered within her own family. The novel centers around the concept of reincarnation, and central to it is the idea that we meet certain people for a reason, and that we may have known the people in our lives before. In addition to "YOU WERE HERE", I co-authored the memoir PSYCHIC JUNKIE, which tells the true story of actress Sarah Lassez's addiction to psychics. That book is a rather humorous look at what can be a rather funny and yet serious addiction, and it was a lot of fun to write with one of my very good friends.
Who are your role models and what was your motivation to write?
My main role model is my father, who is an amazing Kurdish born artist, Zuhdi Sardar. He always worked a day job, and has been an incredible example of someone who was dedicated to their art enough to find time to create while still paying the bills. He taught me dedication and tenacity and that ultimately your day job is only one part of the equation - the rest is simply your desire to do your art, no matter what. I learned a great deal from him in terms of art, cooking, gardening - you name it, he does it! As for my motivation to write, I've always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember.
As a child I filled journals with stories and even in college I started a novel, though at the time I was a Psychology major and didn't realize that writing was something I wanted to do professionally. Writing has been a way for me to escape into other worlds and ask questions about subjects that captivate or upset me.  

How your mother tongue impacted your writing?

 I wish I had an interesting answer here, but English is my mother tongue. I also wish I spoke Kurdish, but I've only learned bits and pieces over the years.

How does your Kurdish origin appear in your writing? (indicate negative or positive impact)?

I'm hoping that my ancestry will play a big role in my next book, but it's in the early stages so I don't want to say too much. Though my other books didn't involve Kurds or Kurdistan, I do think that my ancestry still plays a role in everything I write, as it's shaped the way I see the world. Growing up hearing my father's stories has had a tremendous effect on me and my interest in humanity and justice. 

How much has feminism impacted your writing?

I've always been surrounded by strong, female role models. Most of my favorite writers are women, and for as long as I can remember I've read and cherished the words of women.  

As a female identified writer, what kinds of gender-based issues/obstacle have you faced?

gian_sardar_img_9594.jpegHonestly, I don't think I've had too many gender-based obstacles. Of course there are people you meet who might not at first take you seriously, because you're a woman, but those people were luckily never in a position to make or break my career. Everyone I've met in publishing has been professional and respectful of women. I'm very fortunate.  

Have you faced misogyny, racism from the community you belong to?

There are always misogynists, but I'm lucky in that I've not been adversely affected by any. Racism, to a small extent, was something that I experienced when I lived in Colorado and attended a mostly white school. I suppose the kids there hadn't had much experience with someone from the middle east, and I remember my father pulling up in a van that looked just like the van the terrorists drove in the film Back to the Future, which was big at the time. My friends, of course, knew my father and loved him - but other kids just saw his dark skin, heard his accent, and saw the van, and called him a terrorist. I was furious. It really opened my eyes to the power of Hollywood to create perception, and how people are often afraid of what they don't know or understand. Throughout my life there have been little instances similar to that, and I'm very aware that the racism I've experienced is nothing compared to what others have had to endure.

What are your future plans for your writing? and what message do you have for other writers?  

Right now I'm working on another novel, and I'm hoping that one day it will be on the shelves, as it is my small way in trying to shed light on the Kurdish situation. As for my message to other writers, just keep writing! You'll never regret trying, but you'll always regret not having gone for it. Being a writer is something you can do at any age, from any location, and at any hour. If it's something you want to do, nothing should stop you.


Here is a link to buy the book: 



 Voice of Kurdish-American Radio for Democracy, Peace, and Freedom

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