Meet our inspirational client and published author!
Published on 10 March 2021 11:32 AM
Introducing Suhail Aziz - Age UK Croydon Client & Author!
One of the greatest privileges about meeting and working with our clients, is when you get to hear all about their lives.
One of our clients, Suhail Aziz, is no exception and we are thrilled to announce that he has just become a published author.
Suhail's book, Breakthrough: Memoir of a British-Trained Bangladeshi, is his story through love and prejudice; how he made it in England starting at the bottom and rising to the chairmanship of public bodies, gaining recognition along the way for his distinguished record of public service.
We sat down with him to ask him about the act of writing his book – how it came about, what inspired him to write it…
Congratulations Suhail! What inspired you to write your memoirs?
SA: I believed that I had a story to tell. But did not feel I had the confidence to put it all on paper. Who would read my memoir? Who would be my audience? So, I decided to speak to some of my relatives, friends and colleagues first. I would talk to some of them over lunch, tea, or dinner at my Club, the Royal Air Force Club in Mayfair, about myself and my life's journey. After hearing these stories, some would say "Suhail you should write a book, you have got a story to tell". That provided me with the inspiration and encouragement.
How did you feel putting your memories down on paper?
SA: Some of my friends would ask me why I wanted to write my memoir and put it all in public domain! It was quite scary, especially the fear of libel or defamation, people taking objection etc. I wanted to write my memoir, digging into my past, what I remembered - but not to invite litigation! Obviously, my publishers did their own checking. But I was anxious that the process of editing did not lose the 'message' of my book. I told my true story.
How long did it take you to complete? Did you plan it out first and then write it? Or did you just start writing?
SA: Writing off and on it has taken me some four years from 2016 to 2019. My wife became ill in 2012, sadly I lost her in 2014. Then a period of bereavement, sadness, loneliness meant that I was not able to think about writing. I did not plan on writing a book. After my wife passed away, I asked myself what now? I realised I had some unfinished business such as writing my story. So, there was some planning. As I said, I consulted some friends. I also got some ideas from attending one or two short courses about writing a memoir. I recall reading a book called "Memoir writing for Dummies" - which gave me a powerful tip: 'Keep writing, editing and all comes later'! So I just kept writing!
Have you always wanted to publish a book? Do you think you’ll write another?
No, I did not always want to write a book. I did not think that I had the skills or abilities. But as I began to write I felt an inspiration, an enthusiasm about wanting to tell, wanting to share my story and my feelings, a feeling that what I had done in my life may be useful to others. Now that I have completed one of my unfinished tasks, who knows I may start writing again. People have told me the content of my memoir has enough in it for one or two more books! So who knows, I might write another.
Who is your favourite author and why?
SA: I always like political thrillers and biographical writers. Chris Mullins, a former MP, is my favourite - author of "A Very British Coup", "Views from the Foothills". etc.
What would be your advice to anyone who would like to share their own story?
SA: Have the determination, perseverance, and keep writing. It is not going to be easy. Tell it as it is, don't be shy or afraid. Real stories are what people like to read about.