Growing up I never saw characters in books that looked like me and come from a similar culture so the last few years when we are finally getting these books, it has made me so incredibly excited and grateful to these authors who created these characters and fought for them to be published.
S.A. Chakraborty – It’s no surprise that Shannon is on this list. The Daevabad Trilogy are books that I love with all my heart and soul. I adore the story and the characters and I love that Shannon immersed us in the history too. I will forever be thankful that she gave me Alizayd, a practicing Muslim man who is driven by his religious beliefs, especially social justice. His journey to learning how best to bring justice for all to Daevabad was incredible to read. I felt so seen and I will always have a special place in my heart for these books and especially Ali.
Sabaa Tahir – The first time I saw a main character who was brown and the hero was Laia and Elias. It was an incredible moment for me and it was written by a Muslim woman. I loved these two so much because they were the first characters I saw who looked like me. I loved that the culture was woven into the story and discussions of colonisation was included in the story. It’s something I related a lot to.
S.K. Ali – Sajidah gave me Zayneb, an unapologetic Muslim teen who just wants to live her life but is angry because of all the injustice she faces because she chose to wear a headscarf and it marks her as Muslim. I related so much to her and I loved how she contrasted with Adam. I loved that we got a love story between two Muslim teens and it was all halal. I wish I had this book as a teen.
Hafsah Faisal – Hafsah gave me hope. A niqabi who published an incredible book and it was supported by so many. I saw her and I knew that those of us who are struggling to find our way to achieve our goals will get that boost because when do women in niqab get published by a mainstream publisher?!
Yasmin Rahman – I sobbed after reading the first chapter of All the Things we Never Said because I felt so seen. The way Mehreen feels, how Islam is an important part of her life and she takes that into account when trying to work through her suicidal thoughts. It isn’t something that is discussed in the Muslim community and I hope that this book helps others. Yasmin also started the book with Bismillah and I just knew I would love it after reading that.
Is there any authors who you’re grateful to?