Author Sehba Sarwar talks about the new edition of her novel Black Wings

May 4, 2019, by

When you work at a place like Inprint and are surrounded by talented writers, you are lucky to have many friends that have their books published. There is something extra special to me about reading a book written by a friend. Not only are you proud of her or his accomplishment, but you can’t wait to dig in and read the story they have created. For me, reading Sehba Sarwar’s novel Black Wings, on the one hand, felt like spending the evenings with an old friend, a friend I miss dearly who use to live in Houston, a friend I have laughed with, partied with, and shared many important life conversations with. The beauty of a good writer however, is their ability to take you into another world, a world you absorb yourself into, a world that stands on its own, whether or not you know the writer. Black Wings excels at this and so much more.

Many Houstonians know Sehba Sarwar as the founding director of Voices Breaking Boundaries. As a writer and artist, she creates essays, stories, poems, and art that tackle displacement, migration, and women’s issues. Her writings have appeared in publications including New York Times Sunday Magazine, Asia: Magazine of Asian Literature, Callaloo and elsewhere while her short stories have appeared in or are forthcoming in anthologies with Feminist Press, Akashic Books, and Harper Collins India. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Sarwar is currently based in Southern California. Her novel Black Wings was originally published in Pakistan. She will be reading from a second edition of the novel, published in the United States for the first time by Veliz Books this Monday, May 6, 7 pm at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. Free and open to the public, click here for more information about the reading to order a copy of Black Wings.

She will be reading from a second edition of the novel, published in the United States for the first time by Veliz Books this Monday, May 6, 7 pm at Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet.

The novel is set during post-9/11 times in Houston, Texas and Karachi, Pakistan. The story is revealed through the voices of mother and daughter Yasmeen and Laila. After a family tragedy, followed by many years of separation, Yasmeen and Laila confront family secrets, broken relationships, and a sense of alienation from their immediate and global environments. I caught up with Sehba before her Brazos Bookstore reading to ask her a few questions about the novel, how it has been changed in this latest edition, and about coming back to Houston. Continue reading

Chatting With Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda

June 24, 2014, by

croppedGwenIn April 2013 award-winning fiction writer and poet Gwendolyn Zepeda became Houston’s first Poet Laureate. Zepeda was appointed to the two-year position by Mayor Annise Parker and was selected by a committee of local literary experts through a competitive process. (Inprint’s Executive Director Rich Levy was part of the selection committee.)

Gwen is a perfect fit for the role of poet laureate, an honor established to bring the love of poetry to new and diverse communities. Born and raised in Houston, Gwen is a popular blogger and the author of three novels, four children’s books, a short story collection, and a book of poems, Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners. Her second poetry collection is forthcoming. In addition to these admirable accomplishments, she works full-time, is a parent, is active in the community, and is an all-around lovely human being.  If you have been out and about in Houston recently, you may have seen Gwen reading, leading a workshop, participating in a Houston Public Library program, or involved in some other poetry related activity. Gwen recently served as an Inprint Poetry Busker for Sunday Streets at Market Square.

Inprint is thrilled that Houston has an official Poet Laureate and last week I had the chance to sit down with Gwen (and her husband Dat Lam) to talk about the role of Poet Laureate and her activities. The two hours passed way too quickly. Gwen’s generosity of spirit, quirky humor, simple honesty, and humble and approachable nature make you feel like you have been friends with her for years. We had a great time and I look forward to seeing Gwen again soon.

The following are snippets from our conversation.

Inprint: You have participated in so many activities as Houston Poet Laureate. Which activities stand out in your mind the most? Which have you been the most proud of? Continue reading