“The great thing about being a writer is that you can take all the quirky things that are interesting to you and put them in books”.

Speaking to the BBC’s George Alagiah at the Hay Festival, Tahmima Anam described how in her latest novel, The Bones of Grace, she explored her own fascination with a strange, whale-like mammal through her lead character.

Zubaida, the protagonist in The Bones of Grace, becomes obsessed with finding the bones of the Ambulocetes or ‘Walking Whale’, the beast that could both swim and walk on land.

The whale, an “in-between species” as Anam calls it, acts as a metaphor for Zubaida’s predicament, an orphan searching for identity, and caught between an arranged marriage and the man she loves.

Talking Books at Hay Festival: Tahmima Anam screens on BBC World News on 11,12 and 14 June 2016.

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