• LISP Team

Zahra Barri LISP 2nd Half 2021 Short Story Finalist

LISP 2nd Half 2021 Short Story Finalist 'Fit to Teach' by Zahra Barri

- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

Nanny and PhD Student by day, Stand Up Comedian by night, (Napper in the afternoon).

- When and how did you get into writing?

When I started doing stand-up comedy ten years ago, I realised you can't just recite the 50 Best Knock Knock Jokes of all time (given to me by my ‘hilarious’ Dad in a stocking one Christmas). You have to write your own jokes. Soon the jokes became anecdotes, then the anecdotes became blogs, eventually, these blogs became stories, and finally, these stories became novels and all of a sudden, I'd won Runner Up in the Comedy Women in Print 2020 Awards.


- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I am a fan of the morning. My mind is sharpest then. For some reason, after 3 pm my writing brain switches off and I’m ready for a big nap. I don’t know why. (I do, it's called eating a massive lunch). I try and write every day otherwise I feel like I’ve forgotten to clean my teeth or something.


- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

Very exciting! Normally only my mum reads my work. And that's only because she wants me to dedicate my next book to her. She's not actually doing it because she wants to. But you guys read my stuff because you wanted to, right? (Or were contractually obliged as adjudicators).


- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?

As with all writing, it’s the freedom to write whatever you want. There are no rules. I love that. The most challenging is the first sentence.


- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

It actually happened when I was thirteen. I got told off for ‘spreading’ a rumour about the P.E teacher and almost got suspended because of it. At the time I felt really bad for the teacher but with the 2020 vision (quite literally) I saw how awful he was.


- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

Writing is rewriting as Hemmingway says. Get it all out then edit, edit, edit!!


- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?

The competition. If I thought I was the only one entering I'd be like, 'nailed it' as I press send.


- Lastly, do you recommend the writers give a go on LISP?

Yes!! Why the heck not? What have you got to lose?


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