The Anglo-Pakistani writer Nadeem Aslam was an early starter: aged 13, some 25 years before his Booker Prize longlisting, he had his first short story published in a Pakistani newspaper.
Aslam was 14 when his family left Pakistan for Huddersfield in Yorkshire. The town and its immigrant community became the background for Maps of Lost Lovers, a book that took 11 years to write. When he arrived in the UK, Aslam learnt English by copying out novels by hand. He has numerous novels mapped out, waiting to be written, with the material collected in some 100 notebooks. An intense writer, he says, ‘I’ve more or less realised my writing has cost me almost everything, sometimes friendship, love. A study is a laboratory first - then a factory.’