As 2016 gets going, I thought I’d share links to some of the pieces I most enjoyed working on last year. In no particular order, here’s my top 5:
1.Karachi vice (Guardian)
In my debut piece for the Guardian’s fantastic new long-reads section, I profiled a crime reporter in Karachi, often cited as one of the world’s most dangerous cities.
2. Naz Shah interview: “the victory is my mother’s, too” (New Statesman)
One of the stand-out stories of the May general election was the victory of Naz Shah, who defeated George Galloway in Bradford West. I went to Bradford to speak to Shah soon after the election and hear more about her extraordinary life story.
3. A deadly battle of ideas: murder in Bangladesh (New Humanist/Guardian)
In the cover story from the autumn New Humanist, I wrote about the spate of brutal murders of atheist writers, interviewing two survivors of these attacks and exploring the historical factors behind the violence. A shorter version of the piece also appeared in the Guardian.
4. Mohamed Soltan, the Egyptian activist who spent 400 days on hunger strike in prison (New Statesman)
Since the 2011 uprising, Egypt’s political system has gone through a series of convulsions, leaving many different groups of people vulnerable to state repression. I interviewed Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American arrested in Cairo after protesting. He spoke graphically about the torture he endured, and discussed his current campaigning.
5. Reading poetry written by jihadists could shed new light on extremism (New Statesman)
As soon as I came across a collection of Taliban poetry in translation earlier this year, I was fascinated with the idea of hardened militants sitting around and composing verses. This online piece for the New Statesman discusses the growing body of scholarship around the non-violent activities of jihadists and what we can learn from it.
This is just a small selection of the work I did this year; if you scroll down, you can see a sample of my other reporting. I’ve got some really exciting projects coming up in 2016, which I’ll be sharing details of in due course. Happy new year!