Interview with Nejoud Al-Yagout, author of Motorbikes and Camels

09 Oct 2018

What can you tell us about your new release, Motorbikes and Camels?

It’s a novel about diverse characters on the dual spectrum: liberals and conservatives; the religious and the spiritual; males and females; gays and heterosexuals; you and me. There are thirteen protagonists, one per chapter, each representing one aspect of duality, and in some cases, a blend of both. The tales intertwine at times. More than anything, the stories give the reader an inside peek of a society steeped in dogma.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

The dictator in my head. I had no choice but to get out of the way and listen to its incessant voice that would not let me be until I manifested words on paper (or, in this case, the screen).

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi); An American Marriage (Tayari Jones); Chicago (Alaa Al-Aswany); Sons and Lovers (D.H. Lawrence); and Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut Jr.).

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would invite a censor official to my show, and ask why freedom of expression is so threatening.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

In a region where writing is guarded, it makes my day that though there is discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, apostates, and so-called unbelievers, I can create a world without discrimination.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work at a library, then go home and read most days. Reading is a choice; writing isn’t. So when I don’t have a choice, a typical day involves writing or editing. During time off, I will venture out to support the burgeoning local culture scene when the mood strikes me.

What scene in Motorbikes and Camels was your favorite to write?

A conversation between the gay protagonist and his lover regarding ideological intolerance. In my country, the word gay is not mentioned publicly, let alone written about, so I felt elated that I didn’t self-censor myself because of fear.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Coexistence drives me. We have mosques in every corner in Kuwait, a handful of churches and nothing else (as mentioned in the novel); and thus, my philosophy is coexistence. I see it. And clearly.

Nejoud Al-Yagout is the author of the new book Motorbikes and Camels

Connect with Nejoud
Author Page

Buy The Book
Motorbikes and Camels

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.

share

grant

Spend your time reading, not searching.

Sign up to get book recommendations you’ll love!

close forever