The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 168 with Dur e Aziz Amna, Literary Phenom and Subtle and Nuanced Chronicler of Love and Maturity and Ignorance and Home in the Standout American Fever

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Episode 168 Notes and Links to Dur e Aziz Amna’s Work


    On Episode 168 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Dur E Aziz Amna, and the two discuss, among other things, her early relationship with writing and reading and multilingualism, formational and transformational texts and writers and mentors, and themes of home, ignorance, xenophobia, connection, maturity, misogyny, and so much more, as chronicled in her stellar novel. 


Dur e Aziz Amna is from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and now lives in Newark, USA. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Al Jazeera, among others. She was selected as Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2022, and won the 2019 Financial Times / Bodley Head Essay Prize. She is a graduate of Yale College and the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan. AMERICAN FEVER is her debut novel.

Buy American Fever


Dur e Aziz Amna's Website


Sana Goyal Reviews American Fever for The Guardian


Anandi Mishra Reviews American Fever for Los Angeles Review of Books

At about 6:30, Pete asks Dur e about any secret societies she was part of at Yale


At about 7:25, Pete highlights a standout line from the book


At about 8:45, Dur e speaks about her early language and reading experiences, a “segmented” life of English, Urdu, and Punjabi


At about 12:35, Dur e responds to Pete’s inquiry about the ways in which Urdu as a language informs her writing in English 


At about 15:05, The two discuss “I love you” as an interesting use of language logic, particularly with regard to a line from the book


At about 16:50, Dur e responds to Pete’s questions about books and writers that changed her trajectory and how college exposed her to specific writers and genres


At about 18:20, Dur e highlights contemporary reads that thrill and inspire her, and talks of Peter Ho Davies, Nishanth Injam, and Julie Buntin as inspiring mentors 


At about 20:05, Dur e gives backgrounds on the book’s genesis 


At about 23:40, Pete recounts some key early lines from the book and focuses on the skillful


At about 25:20, Dur e gives background on Kelly, the narrator, Hira’s, host mom and her motivations and reader feedback on the character 


At about 27:55, Dur e talks about her curiosity in exploring power dynamics between Kelly and Hira


At about 29:20, The two discuss Hira’s desires to leave 


At about 32:40, Dur e gives background on the exchange program that was the basis for Hira’s fictional program 


At about 36:50, Dur gives unbelievable stats about the history of tuberculosis and how it’s shaped our world


At about 38:20, The two talk about Hira’s parents and the ways in which their attitudes are representative of ideas about class 


At about 43:50, Dur e responds to Pete’s questions about why Hira’s parents let her go to the States


At about 46:30, Pete asks Dur e about a memorable scene involving a car ride and Dur e gives the real-life parallels 


At about 49:00, Pete compliments Hira for her nuanced writing


At about 50:30, Pete wonders about Hira’s place as an outsider and as welcomed in her Oregon town


At about 52:40, Pete outlines Hira’s creeping sickness and Dur e reflects on ideas of blame for the sickness 


At about 55:30, Pete brings up Ali and Hira’s relationship and her views of the relationship 


At about 57:30, Pete asks Dur e to distinguish between the way Hira and Hamid act as exchange students, and this brings up discussion of a “frustrating” thing about Hira for Dur e


At about 1:00:20, Dur e and Pete marvel over similarities between Hira’s quarantine and the world of Covid and talk about the ramifications of Hira’s tuberculosis diagnosis and recovery 


At about 1:02:20, Ideas of home are discussed that dovetail with independence 


At about 1:03:10, Ideas of gender roles are discussed through the lens of a scene involving a scarf in the book


At about 1:05:20, Saima Sitwat shoutout!


At about 1:06:15, Dur e blithely talks about her upcoming project


At about 1:07:00, Dur e gives backstory on her love for the book’s US cover


At about 1:08:20, Dur e shouts out places to buy her book and social media/contact info

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   Please tune in for Episode 169 with Justin Tinsley, the author of It Was All a Dream: Biggie and the World That Made Him, and Host of ESPN’s 30 For 30 Nipsey Hussle original podcast, The King of Crenshaw. He is Sports and Culture Senior Reporter at Disney’s Andscape and weekly guest on ESPN’s Around the Horn 

   The episode will air on March 7.

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