The Reason to Write

As a child living in the English countryside, a constant stream of people turned up at Tahir Shah’s family home, all in search of his father – the writer and thinker Idries Shah. Among them were literary giants, including the classicist Robert Graves, Nobel laureate Doris Lessing, and the celebrated American novelist, J. D. Salinger.

On one occasion when Salinger had just departed, Tahir asked why the author of The Catcher in the Rye wrote books at all. His father responded by saying: ‘Salinger writes because if he stops he’ll turn to stone.’

Inspired by this quote, The Reason to Write is an account of Tahir’s journey through the trials and tribulations of what it is to be an author. Describing the ins and outs of the literary world by charting his own experiences, Tahir calls into question the established norms of a publishing system most of us take for granted.

A book of exceptional insight, The Reason to Write is packed with tips for budding authors, examples of what has worked and not worked, and an appreciation of how best to navigate the ever-turbulent waters of the literary trade.

The overriding message of this often-hilarious literary cornucopia is simple: authors should write for themselves, and keep control – which means never selling out, no matter how appealing the lure.

As a bestselling writer, whose forty or more books have been translated into dozens of languages the world over, Tahir Shah is regarded as one of the most original authors working today. The Reason to Write established him as a preeminent expert on the literary arts, as well as a forecaster of the fast-changing landscape of things to come.

The Reason to Write