Valentine’s Day date with Ali?
Ali Sethi rose to global prominence not through the power of his larynx (extraordinary as it is) but through his writing. His debut novel ‘The Wish Maker’ was published in 2009 and it swiftly drew comparisons with Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’. It detailed the story of Zaki who returns to Pakistan for his cousin’s wedding. The reader is taken on a real journey into Zaki’s past, meeting members of his extended family on the way. Sethi has also written for the New York Times and The New Yorker, but in 2013 he began focusing on his music career after he made his film debut as a singer in ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. He released several well-received cover versions before branching out into original material in 2016. He has since been recognised with several Lux Style nominations in his native Pakistan and has studied under Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, one of the greatest living exponents of Pakistani classical music; and with Farida Khanum, the greatest living exponent of “semi-classical” ghazal singing. Ali on Valentine’s Day? Got to be better than a bunch of over-priced roses.Ali Sethi, Friday 14 February, O2 City Hall Newcastle, 7pm, £34.50. academymusicgroup.com/o2cityhallnewcastle