J a s k a r a n  K a u r  S a h o t a

"...Creativity is what makes us human". Read our interview with writer Jaskaran Kaur Sahota...

Jaskaran, hi! We’re so excited to speak to you.


As am I!


Are you ready for our quickfire questions?




What are you watching right now?


I am watching Dreaming Whilst Black on BBC iPlayer which is super fun and very, very smart. I recently finished watching Fisk on Netflix which is an import from Australia and I think its very funny and very simple, in terms of its humour. 

And I am ferociously binge-watching and catching up with Call My Agent, the French version, which is an absolute dream. Like, wow. I wish I’d written it.


We love that show! We love that, that’s a great answer, thank you. So, next question, what music serenades your commute currently?


I recently re-discovered Wyclef Jean & The Rock’s – It Doesn’t Matter, which is a big tune, a big tune. The other thing I’m listening to is an artist called Iniko and their song called Jericho which is pretty good, I like the lyrics and I like the vibe. 

I am also listening to something called The BBC sleep podcast “Horse Edition” (The Sleeping Forecast, Horse training techniques to lull you to sleep) which is meant to relax you and put you to sleep, but I actually find it very interesting about different canters, trots and gallops and how feet move, so I actually listen to that on my commute, and I’m like ‘Really? That is interesting, that's how horses move’.


That’s so funny! Such a wonderful answer. Last question of the quick-fire round, any books on the go?


I had a dharmic unload, where I had a pile of books that I hadn’t quite finished, and then I just went and finished them all, so I’ve just unburdened myself with finishing loads of things! So, I recently finished a book called Parallel Lives by Phyllis Rose. It’s a feminist exploration of marriage and ‘what is a marriage?’, but looking at the letters of very famous couples from the Victorian times. And you get an insight into relationships and marriage of a certain time, and it was just one of the most amazing books I think, that women can read.   


I think we studied that in voice class at drama school! That’s amazing. Well that’s our quick-fire round. You smashed it out the park.


We’d love to get to know a bit more about your creative work. So, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into all your creative endeavours?


Okay! My name’s Jaskaran, I identify as a blonde, South Asian woman of colour. No, I take that back. I’ll start again. I identify as a blonde – yeah I identify as a blonde South Asian woman! For a long time, I was blonde and that blonde person still lives inside me. I worked in advertising for ten years before deciding that selling my soul to the capitalist machine wasn’t quite what I wanted to do anymore. Then I kind of came to my creativity and my writing and… it kind of found me. Like, I went through an interesting journey of doing stand-up, then building my confidence to be like, ‘actually Jaskaran, you’re an absolutely fucking hilarious woman and you get to be funny on stage’ and that kind of evolved into comedy writing, and then exploration of my poetry, and I recently wrote a short animation… that was kind of my journey!


Awesome! Well, you’ve just spoken about dabbling in lots of different types of work, such as animation and poetry, what would you say your writing is mainly about? And who/what inspires you?


I think a large body of what I explore is about women, and holding space for women. I come back to that sentence as like, women hold space. We hold it within ourselves, we are usually with wombs or you know, we have space inside ourselves, and we hold space in this world. We create life, we hold space in so many different ways… So, I think what I normally go back to is the exploration of what it is to be a woman, what it is to rewrite women’s narratives from a female perspective.


Some of the greatest women to have ever been written about, whether that’s Eve, of Adam and Eve, or Medusa, any of these amazing women, we don’t normally get the opportunity to think, ‘what would they have written about themselves?’. They say history is written by the victor, but like, it literally is his-story, literally, the man’s story. I grew up in the western cannon of looking at, ‘what would Helen of Troy have said? What would the Oracle at Delphi’s experience have been like?’ 

So, I’m quite inspired by women’s stories. And exploring that in many ways, whether that’s quite emotional and you know, the difficult bits of it, but also the humanity and comedy of what it is to be a woman in 2023 when, you’re in a battle with your own body hair, in a world that’s telling you it’s alright. So that’s the kind of thing that my work, I think, particularly explores.


And more interestingly, I found it interesting to write about men… ‘coz men write women, but all of a sudden, I was like, okay I, as a woman, am now gonna’ put the female gaze on you, and I’m going to write you, as men. This is how I see you. So that was quite an interesting experience. I binge watched Peep Show as part of my research. ‘Coz men don’t normally tell you what they’re thinking, or the inner workings of their 'patriarchy-made-minds'.


What inspires me? I think I’m inspired, surprisingly, by ancient literature across different things. I did grow up on bible stories, I did learn about Hindu mythology, I learnt about the Greeks and The Romans… One of the books I recently read which was Circe by Madeline Miller, which is a re-telling of Circe’s story. We generally know Circe from Homer’s Odyssey, and she’s only four chapters in his book. In this book of Circe, the reverse is true. Odysseus only makes four chapters Circe’s story – so there is this great, parallel writing of this women’s story. And it was one of those books that I read and I just think ‘Damn. I wish I’d written that. I wish I had unleashed what this is’. I’m often inspired by new perspectives and people telling you a story that you already know, but then, re-learning it.


There’s an account on Instagram which is like, ‘Alternative Disney’ which re-looks at all the Disney Princess’s and is like, well if their mums were around, maybe, you know, Cinderella’s mum would have been like ‘Mate, maybe you shouldn’t date a guy who only recognises you by the size of your shoe and not without your make-up’. So, I think, going back into the myth the, the legend that we grew up with, and the stories that inform ‘what it is to be a woman’ and ‘what kind of romance you have’ so I like subverting that and re-thinking the things we’ve internalised as part of our folk law.


Nice. That’s some very similar stuff as to why we wanted to start our Theatre Company; ‘what is the purpose of being a woman?’.


Do you have any advice for anyone who might want to do a bit more writing, or get a bit more creative?


I think the thing that encourages me, is that I came to ‘my writing’ and ‘creativity’ in my early thirties, and one of the mantras that I would say to anyone who is out there is, first, it’s not too late and you’re not too old - whenever it is that you decide is the time to start - whatever it is that you decide.


And I think in terms of creativity… we always think it’s the preserve of these special people, these artists, these magical people. But actually, creativity is what makes us human. Even that we evolved and came out of Eastern Africa, and walked out of the mainland of Africa – was because we are creative. We are intrinsically creative people. And it’s not the preserve of people who self-label as poets.


Anyone who’s had a conversation, you’ve dropped a pun in – that’s funny, that’s creative. If you’ve looked at log and thought of how to make a chair – you are creative. So, I think the first thing is, is to harness that, embrace that, in whatever way that means to you. You’ve just got to do it. Put a pen to a piece of paper, something to something, and create something.


And the first draft of anything is gonna’ be crap. I recently re-read a first draft of what I consider to be my ‘body of work’ and had to stop myself from deleting it all. Just write it. Any first draft is weird. Writing is re-writing. You get to draft 12 or 14 and you get to something. And I think people get discouraged or discourage themselves in the very early stages. So, that’s my advice. You are creative, you just gotta’ figure out how you unleash it to the world.


Wow, that is wonderful, thank you. So, what’s next? Tell the people what you got going on.   


I’m currently working with a musician/composer who wanted to have some lyrical poetry written to the works that he’s making. So, that’s quite a new collaboration. Although I can write, I don’t know if I can write to beat, I don’t really know how that collab will work, so it’s a very interesting exploration. And I like music, when I listen to music I like the lyrics. There are certain words or phrases that stick out, so I’m really excited about developing that. 

I’m writing a children’s story for adults, which explores romantic love and neurodiversity, what it is to be in a world where you love people and your neurodiverse and it doesn’t always have to be about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Also, working on a TV script and some poetry as well!


Fantastic. Thank you so much Jaskaran, it’s been such a pleasure talking to you.



Follow her @Jaskaran1word

Thank you @gstillmoment for their beaut picture