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Creative Writing

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Literature

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Travel

4 Books I Have Read Recently.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonScandinavians have mastered the crime genre in both television and literature. This book reminds me of Forbrydelsen and is impeccable. After watching the film, a psychological thriller starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, I purchased the book knowing that the premise was going to be multi-layered and complex. Larsson creates fascinating characters amongst a Swedish landscape, constantly building intrigue by shifting the narrative and emphasising the juxtaposition between Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist being tried for libel, and Lisbeth Salander, an eccentric private investigator as they work together to solve the crime of a missing girl. If you enjoy crime fiction, you must read this. I was horrified by the ending whilst simultaneously in awe of Larsson’s mind for having curated such magnificence. Although the book is over 500 pages long, he weaves each sentence together with so much suspense that you'll find yourself sad that it's over. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

Some Say The World Will End In Fire.


I remember hearing noises from the window as I read to my life-sized green teddy bear. I placed my book down on his lap, covered him with my blanket and climbed the chair that I had carefully positioned beside the window.
The attic looked out onto dozens of gardens and I sometimes pretended that I was peering out onto my own kingdom. My favourite time to sit there was at twilight when the foxes emerged and the rest of the world stood still. It was as if I was the only one alive, I felt important then.
I scanned the gardens for the source of the noise and noticed two men struggling to move a wardrobe. They had resorted to pushing and pulling it across the ground and it was the wood scraping concrete that had been responsible for the havoc.
I looked on until they seemed satisfied with its placement on the soil towards the rear of the garden. It was only later that I would go on to understand why I should have immediately closed the window and returned to my book.

Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.

Three years ago, I participated in a ‘blind date with a book’ and came home with Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. As soon as I poured over the back cover, I knew that it was going to be something I would love.

The book follows a young Jewish child attempting to escape Nazi-occupied Poland and eventually having to come to terms with his grief when rescued. The story is interwoven with metaphor and memory, trauma and poetry. The language is haunting, insightful, devastatingly beautiful, but more importantly, the book demonstrates the indestructibility of the human mind and spirit. I have reread it countless times and wanted to share some of my favourite lines with you.

The Psychology of Dexter.


This is an extract from ‘The Psychology of Dexter.’

'Issues of self and identity have historically ranked among the most beguiling and bemusing of the topics studied by psychologists and philosophers. Self is such a tricky concept in part because it is so broadly used. Even a cursory peek at the psychological research literature reveals dozens of theories and concepts that employ the term: self-esteem, self-concept, self-discrepancy, self-regulation, self-awareness, etc. There are also everyday uses of the term: we often speak of “feeling self-conscious” or “acting selfishly.” In modern psychology, self is often defined as the mental apparatus that permits individuals to experience abstract, inwardly directed thoughts and feelings. Research in comparative psychology reveals that some non-human animals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, dolphins, parrots, and cephalopods (octopi and squid), have a demonstrable ability to recognize themselves. The fact that selfhood, like the lens-bearing eye, has independently emerged in numerous distinct evolutionary lineages suggests that it is a very useful feature. It is also notable that the species with self-recognition abilities tend to be, like humans, highly social. However, it has typically been argued that such non-human selfhood is fairly rudimentary: the complex reflective self is thought to be unique to human beings, and core to our historical success as a species. Selfhood appears to be a key contributing factor in our abilities to form preferences, to evaluate ourselves against internal and external standards, to plan for the future, and to relate to others.

The Necessity of Casting JonBenét.


JonBenét Ramsey was a 6-year-old beauty pageant queen from Boulder, Colorado. In 1996, during the early hours of December 26th, her mother, Patsy, discovered a three-page ransom note and made a 911 call to report that her daughter had been kidnapped. Later that day, JonBenét’s body was found in the basement, strangled to death by a garrotte. Whilst a man confessed to her murder, he was eventually cleared due to DNA evidence and the case remains unsolved. People have continued to meticulously discuss and dissect evidence for over two decades with the parents and older brother, Burke, as the key suspects.

When The Demon Buys You Flowers - Poem.


When the demon buys you flowers,
says ‘for you my love,’ scorns the sternum;
tears at the seraphic petals for divinity.

Stream Of Consciousness.


Sometimes when struggling to write, I do this thing that I like to refer to as my ‘stream of consciousness’ where I sit and exude onto paper. Whilst a majority of it is sanctimonious nonsense, I am sometimes able to contrive and extract creative ideas.

Living In Your Hometown.


Living in your hometown is walking into the post office and being served by a boy that you went to mosque with, or going into a bar and the bartender being the guy that you once had a crush on, or going to a wedding and your cousin marrying the guy that you sat next to in class, or going into a pharmacy and having to talk to a girl that despised you for unknown reasons, or walking into a park that you loved as a child to find it having turned into a place where drunkards arrive to become merry.

Scrolling Through My Feed.


Every time I scroll through my feed, I stumble across pictures of people getting married, having children, being promoted at work, moving into new homes, settling into their lives. It's only human nature to go on to use these milestones as a metric for my own life. Am I a failure for not having a plan? Should I have proceeded with that PhD? Am I falling behind everyone else? Should I be looking for someone? Am I a failure for having no direction? Should I just settle in the UK? 

From Lisbon to Rome.

I have spent the last three weeks in Lisbon, Nice, Tende, Monaco, Amsterdam and Rome and wanted to share some of my Instagram images and captions.



The second oldest café in Italy where the likes of Lord Byron, John Keats and Hans Christian Andersen have had coffee. The entire place is filled with artwork and sculptures with waiters dressed in tuxedos bringing you coffee. This is what my dreams look like.

2016; the year of sanity.


This year, I abandoned a lot of my cultural and religious ideals. I abandoned people, habits, fears, friends. I said no, stopped caring. This year, I filtered out all of the noise and gave my needs precedence.

I packed up my suitcase, left the country and refuted everything that my religion and culture had instilled within me. I needed space to demonstrate to my body that I was capable of existing beyond my depression. I needed to find a way of steering myself without being interjected with other narratives. I needed to not have to pertain to an identity or pander to my relationships. I just needed to be Qurratulain, without expectation.

From Barcelona to Malta.

I have spent the last three weeks in Barcelona, Valencia and Malta and wanted to share some of my Instagram images and captions.


One of the best parts of travelling alone is that you have the capacity to stand and experience the depth of everything before deciding to move on. You get to absorb and sink into the entirety of your own thoughts & surroundings as history merges with the present and the two realities coalesce. You get to marvel at the intricacies of sculptures, feel and comprehend the magnificence that every space capacitates. You get to be alive in a different reality, become lost in a backdrop that your mind could never envision. You don't have to pertain to an identity, in fact you don't have to be anything. Being alone in an unknown country restores the inquisitiveness that helped us navigate our childhood. It revives curiosity and forces you to abandon the things that you know. Sure, you could do it all with someone else, but sometimes the things that you do alone are the most memorable, remarkable, meaningful.
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