Sharjah Book Fair: Trevor Noah credits his mum for his global stardom, love for reading

The South African political commentator, stand-up comedian-turned-author and TV host interacted with fans at the event


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 13 Nov 2021, 8:39 PM

The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2021) ballroom was reminiscent of a sold-out rock concert with hundreds of fans stretching their arms out trying to raise their phones higher than their neighbour’s to get a better shot of the moment when Trevor Noah walked through the SIBF 2021 doors.

South African political commentator, stand-up comedian-turned-author, and host of the Daily Show met with fans at the book fair late Friday (November 12) night.

“In life there are two factors that’ll determine where you end up. One is how hard you work, and the other is your luck”, he said while responding to radio host Kris Fade’s query about whether the Daily Show’s host could’ve predicted his remarkable journey of success, one that he recounts in his book, New Memoir.

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“Luck is something I have no control over, yet cannot discount”, added Noah, saying his mother taught him that these blessings are not promised to anyone.

When asked how many people had read Trevor’s book, the response from the crowd was tremendous. Sharing unique insights into his journey to the top, the best-selling author said that he hoped for the movie on his book did “just as well”.

In an answer to another question about whether his friends actually knew where Noah came from before reading New Memoir, he said: “A lot of people asked me ‘why did you write the book, or how did you write the book?’, adding “my friends are the reason why I wrote it because they wanted me to put my stories – the ones I would share live with my audiences during my travels around the world – in a book”.

The process of writing, Trevor admitted wasn’t easy. Trevor has lent his unique storytelling voice to the audiobook version of New Memoir which has earned global appreciation and acclaim.

Despite the fact that an in-depth account of Noah’s childhood is presented in his memoir, the author said to the audience’s surprise that he never journaled. How did he manage such a descriptive narrative then? “I’ve been blessed and cursed with a very good memory, which means that I can remember most of the things that happened to me in my life.”, said Noah.

Noah’s mother was integral to his book-writing journey who helped him fact check and remember things properly when the author was unsure.

Trevor described his book as a “tribute to his mother”, and went on to say, “I am lucky to be my mother’s son. I didn’t get to choose who she would be, I didn’t ‘work hard to get my mother”, he said throwing an air quote. “And yet, she is the reason I got everything I did in life”, Noah continued, adding “she was the person who worked the hardest to get me here; she was the person who made me love books in the first place”.

Talking about how he did not always get the toys or clothes he wanted as a child because his mum could not afford them, the Daily Show’s host proudly said: “She always made sure that we had books”.

Reading all those books that his mother brought home from book clubs or garage sales as buying them wouldn’t always be possible, would take Noah “to a different world”. Kris, a father of two young daughters said he struggled to get them off their screens. “What do we do?”, he inquired Noah, which turned the conversation towards the topic of social media.

Noah advised setting a restricted period of screen time as a reward for children when they’ve completed a certain number of hours of reading. “If you give children the right books, they will be fighting you to read”, he added echoing the message of the SIBF 2021 theme ‘There’s always a right book’.

“If we are lucky, we have about 4,000 weeks to spend on this earth. So, it's time to stop living on autopilot,” was the last word of advice by the young man as he concluded an electrifying conversation with his SIBF 2021 audience, encouraging them to write their story even if they never publish it as, according to Noah, it is one of the best ways to express oneself and also tackle with and put a rest to unresolved emotions from the past.

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