2024 Stella Prize Longlist: Reflections
sanya rushdie

What I discovered writing my latest book

Sanya Rushdi reflects on the writing lessons learnt after publishing Hospital, longlisted for the 2024 Stella Prize.


One of the most important things I discovered about myself when writing Hospital is that writing is very therapeutic for me. Also, it showed me that I don’t like to plan what I am going to write, but, as I continue writing spontaneously, I delve deep into my work and something magical happens then – I start to remember things I thought I forgot. These appear vividly in front of my eyes and all I have to do is just go with the flow and write those down. So, what appears to be lost from memory, reappears as I write. Writing is therapeutic, meaningful and creative in that way too.

Writing is helpful as it stores what we have already said so far, so that we can continue on from there. 

Written work is usually wordier and word-centred compared to non-written and verbal work. With the latter, for example, when we are talking to someone, we often don’t complete a sentence or say everything in words. We show and demonstrate and allow the other person to complete our half complete sentences. It’s more collaborative in that way, which is often a very exciting, helpful and efficient way of communication. However, to actually make sense of everything and to develop our thought process further, writing is helpful as it stores what we have already said so far, so that we can continue on from there. It is this unfolding of thought through writing that was personally most important and therapeutic for me – this unfolding of myself, my thoughts and emotions, so that I could see in front of my very eyes what was wrong, what needed to be done and the way ahead.

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