Fatma Sajwani
Fatma Sajwani asked Khaled Hosseini:

Given that you lived a big part of your life away from Afghanistan, How did you learn about the pains and the experiences of Afghans? Don't you think maybe because you did not live those pains that you wrote about Afghanistan in a way different from how an Afghan who lived there would write? Regardless of your response I love your books....

Khaled Hosseini I read a lot, watched documentaries, spoke to people. I will give you a example, about the writing of A Thousand Splendid Suns. In March of 2003, I went back to Kabul for the first time after a twenty-seven year absence. In Kabul, I spoke to traffic cops, NGO workers, teachers, doctors, nurses, bodyguards, women on the street. Everyone had a story to tell. I heard stories about women who had been raped, beaten, imprisoned, humiliated, women who had seen their husbands blown to pieces, seen their kids starve to death. It was then that I saw the devastating effect that anarchy and extremism had had on these women. I saw for myself, for the first time, the enormity of the suffering that these women had endured. And I came away humbled by the fight that these women had in them, by their resilience and their courage.

So though it is true that I have not actually lived in Afghanistan in a very long time, when I sat down to write A Thousand Splendid Suns, early in 2004, I kept hearing those women’s voices in my head, I keep seeing their faces. And so I think that to a large degree, that book was inspired and formed by the collective hardships, struggles, by the collective hopes and dreams of those women I met and spoke to.
Khaled Hosseini
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