Irum Zahra: Pakistan’s first gothic poet and Ceo of Beyond Sanity Publishing.

(As told to Pakhi Dixit, Associate Editor, News Sense)

I started writing from a very early age, I began re-writing the stories that I would read. Most of the influence came from my mother because she is a librarian and she brought a lot of books at home. My journey started from stories but gradually I turned my attention towards poetry. I loved music, I started writing songs, I indulged myself in Victorian poetry, I started reading philosophy.

Irum-300x300 Irum Zahra: Pakistan’s first gothic poet and Ceo of Beyond Sanity Publishing.Pretty soon, my bookshelf was filled with Kafka, Nietzsche and Anne Frank. I started quoting Edgar Allan. My classmates used to make fun of me when I would read my poetry aloud in the class. My teachers supported me, one of my English teachers said, ‘World will create problems, but be strong’. I did just that. I participated in every essay writing, poetry writing, debates and creative writing competition and won them all.

Families in Pakistan and generally across the globe don’t usually appreciate creative children, they believe that pursuing a serious form of education such as engineering and medicine etc. are the key to success. When that happens, the creative brain starts to fade. Sure, those studies are as important as it gets, but we need creative people too. We need people who are poets, artists, singers, composers, dancers, performers, we need people who live to depict art and literature.

Irum-300x300 Irum Zahra: Pakistan’s first gothic poet and Ceo of Beyond Sanity Publishing.From a broken family to a broken marriage, I faced emotional and physical trauma. I suffered through all that and moved on, I started writing more. I compiled my poetry to launch ‘Psychaotic‘ a collection of Gothic poems and prose. It got nominated for the best poetry book of the year as well.

After that, I saw that there are so many different writers across the world who are just aching to let the world know what they are capable of. I would get many questions from budding writers and the response of publishers wasn’t that great either. I decided to start a media/Publishing company called ‘Beyond Sanity’ to help promote reading culture, peace-building events and the promotion of performing arts.

Irum-300x300 Irum Zahra: Pakistan’s first gothic poet and Ceo of Beyond Sanity Publishing.So far, Beyond Sanity has organized over 50 events across Pakistan, interviewed countless artists and published work of over 300 writers. We’re moving towards the digital world, and Beyond Sanity is expanding it’s horizons to artist promotion, social media coverage of events, publications, artist management and reviews. The rebranding of Beyond Sanity will be done on 25th of December, which happens to be Christmas, a festive day and the Birth of a great world leader, Quaid-e-Azam. It’s only fitting that Beyond Sanity is rebranded that day.

I believe that Literature will make us immortal, and that is what I want to stand by when I launch my second sole book, Invictus. Apart from that, two novels are in their completion phase, both to be launched next year. Beyond Sanity will be publishing 5 books next year, including an anthology of literature from across the world with the title of ‘Literature for Peace’.

While all these plans make me sound like I have done so much, I feel like there is still much I need to do, and for everyone else who is writing, I want to tell them that as long as there is one person in the world who wants to read your work, it’s reason enough for you to write.”

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