Saba Karim Khan is an author, award-winning filmmaker and educator, whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Wasafiri, Huff Post, Verso, Think Progress, DAWN, The Friday Times and Express Tribune. She has read Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford and works at NYU Abu Dhabi. Before joining the Academy, she worked as Country Marketing and Public Affairs Head at Citigroup. Born in Karachi, she now lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two daughters.
On storytelling, Khan says:
“Whilst I embrace and celebrate multiple labels – author, filmmaker, educator – at my core, I’m a storyteller. I’ve always craved storytelling, even old-fashioned musings around a campfire, for they forge an interface with other beings and let you create something together. Also, storytelling is one of the few pursuits that doesn’t become routinized; you can invent a million re-enchanting, soul-stirring ways of telling a tale. Too often, our jobs make us feel as if we’re cogs in a wheel, driven by the “check-at-the-end-of-the-month”; gratification, happiness become adjunct to the mechanical roster. Over time, frustration sprouts, calcifies but we train our minds to believe rerouting isn’t an option. I certainly did!
Then, one winter, a guest speaker at NYU, the Headmaster from a school in England, quoted something jaw-dropping, it stopped me in my tracks: ‘Most men and women lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,’ he said. ‘What is your song?’ He asked us to take five minutes and scribble our song on a piece of paper, before sharing it with the person sitting next to us. I can’t say it was simple, conjuring up something that felt so important, right there, on the spot, especially because in addition to my pipedreams, I had a one-year old and a three-week-old, vying for their mother. Still, the Headmaster’s words shifted something fundamentally within me and the seeds of storytelling – including Skyfall – were probably sown that morning.”