Author of “Just Your Average Muslim” Old Blue Zia Chaudhry’s work has gained international recognition having been invited to the 2015 Dubai Literary Festival. Alongside his venture into the literary world Zia continues to practice law as a criminal barrister, and over the past decade has been involved with inter-faith dialogue and advocacy work.
How would you describe your time at the Blue Coat?
Like any eleven year old I was scared stiff on my first day at school, what followed thereafter were seven thoroughly enjoyable years with some of the funniest guys I’ve ever met (no girls in those days, sadly). Yet the bizarre thing was that despite having such a good time, or maybe in part because of it, I emerged with enough qualifications to pursue my chosen career in the law.
How did your experience at the School prepare you for your career?
Aside from the formal qualifications which were clearly necessary in order to progress, one of the less obvious features of Blue Coat life which undoubtedly assisted me later on was the impact of being surrounded by such witty people. From teachers to pupils there was a pervading sense of humour which I believe sharpened my mind and helped in my later role as an advocate.
What has been your path since leaving School?
Following on from school I spent three years at Manchester University and then a year on the Bar Vocational Course in London. I was called to the Bar in 1991 and have been practising as a criminal barrister in Liverpool ever since. Aside from the law, however, I have also been involved in inter-faith dialogue for well over a decade. Skills that I had honed in my chosen career including advocacy and an ability to persuade, seemed to come in very useful when I was called upon to speak on issues relating to Islam and Muslims and it became apparent to me that this was much-needed work.
What do you do now?
Now I am the author of “Just Your Average Muslim” which I’m proud to note features in the Blue Coat School library. Addressed to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it hopes to dispel myths and misunderstandings and play its part in making the world a better place. Trite though that may sound I believe that is what we’re all here for and the Blue Coat is perfect preparation for young people to go on and have a positive impact on a much larger stage.
I would have been happy if only my family had read the book, but now I’ve even been invited to participate in the Dubai Festival of Literature in March 2015, which just goes to show that those seeds sown in the Blue Coat many years ago, are now flourishing internationally. And if I can do it…..