As you may or may not know, from how much I’ve been going on about it for the past month or so, #RamadanReadathon has officially begun. I mentioned before that the purpose of this readathon is to celebrate Muslim authors and raise awareness about the importance of diversifying our bookshelves. But, why Muslim authors specifically?
Karuna Riazi, author of The Gauntlet, wrote this Twitter thread a while back about the shocking number of titles from Muslim authors published this year and the next, and it pretty much sums up why we need to support the authors who are already published. There aren’t nearly enough of them. And let’s be completely honest, with the growing Islamophobia in the Western world, it’s not easy for us to tell our stories. Instead, we end up in a situation where we have our stories told for us.
I did extensive research whilst compiling this list of upcoming MG/YA releases by Muslim authors, post-June 2017, and I still came up short. Less than fifteen titles altogether. I may have missed some unintentionally, or intentionally as in additional books in an ongoing series, but it would still be a shocking number. I’m hopefully going to update this post as I discover new titles so watch this space. Some of the books also don’t yet have covers, or a full synopsis, so these will also be updated as they are revealed.
THE AUTHENTICS BY ABDI NAZEMIAN
August 8th 2017
Daria Esfandyar is Iranian-American and proud of her heritage, unlike some of the “Nose Jobs” in the clique led by her former best friend, Heidi Javadi. Daria and her friends call themselves the Authentics, because they pride themselves on always keeping it real.
But in the course of researching a school project, Daria learns something shocking about her past, which launches her on a journey of self-discovery. It seems everyone is keeping secrets. And it’s getting harder to know who she even is any longer.
With infighting among the Authentics, her mother planning an over-the-top sweet sixteen party, and a romance that should be totally off limits, Daria doesn’t have time for this identity crisis. As everything in her life is spinning out of control—can she figure out how to stay true to herself?
A CHANGE IS GONNA COME ANTHOLOGY*
August 10th 2017
Featuring top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.
Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.
*Includes Muslim authors Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master and Yasmin Rahman.
THE BLOODPRINT BY AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN
October 3rd 2017
A dark power called the Talisman has risen in the land, born of ignorance and persecution. Led by a man known only known as the One-eyed Preacher, it is a cruel and terrifying movement bent on world domination—a superstitious patriarchy that suppresses knowledge and subjugates women. And it is growing.
But there are those who fight the Talisman’s spread, including the Companions of Hira, a diverse group of influential women whose power derives from the Claim—the magic inherent in the words of a sacred scripture. Foremost among them is Arian and her apprentice, Sinnia, skilled warriors who are knowledgeable in the Claim. This daring pair have long stalked Talisman slave-chains, searching for clues and weapons to help them battle their enemy’s oppressive ways. Now, they may have discovered a miraculous symbol of hope that can destroy the One-eyed Preacher and his fervid followers: The Bloodprint, a dangerous text the Talisman has tried to erase from the world.
Finding a copy of The Bloodprint promises to be their most dangerous undertaking yet, an arduous journey that will lead them deep into Talisman territory. Though they will be helped by allies—a loyal ex-slave and Arian’s former confidante and sword master—both Arian and Sinnia know that this mission may well be their last.
THE CITY OF BRASS BY S. A. CHAKRABORTY
November 14th 2017
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .
WHICHWOOD BY TAHERAH MAFI
November 14th 2017
Our story begins on a frosty night…
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.
But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.
ESCAPE FROM ALEPPO BY N. H. SENZAI
January 2nd 2018
Silver and gold balloons. A birthday cake covered in pink roses. A new dress.
Nadia stands at the center of attention in her parents’ elegant dining room. This is the best day of my life, she thinks. Everyone is about to sing “Happy Birthday,” when her uncle calls from the living room, “Baba, brothers, you need to see this.” Reluctantly, she follows her family into the other room. On TV, a reporter stands near an overturned vegetable cart on a dusty street. Beside it is a mound of smoldering ashes. The reporter explains that a vegetable vendor in the city of Tunis burned himself alive, protesting corrupt government officials who have been harassing his business. Nadia frowns.
It is December 17, 2010: Nadia’s twelfth birthday and the beginning of the Arab Spring. Soon anti-government protests erupt across the Middle East and, one by one, countries are thrown into turmoil. As civil war flares in Syria and bombs fall across Nadia’s home city of Aleppo, her family decides to flee to safety. Inspired by current events, this novel sheds light on the complicated situation in Syria that has led to an international refugee crisis, and tells the story of one girl’s journey to safety.
LOVE, HATE AND OTHER FILTERS BY SAMIRA AHMED
January 16th 2018
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?
A LAND OF PERMANENT GOODBYES BY ATIA ABAWI
January 23rd 2018
Tareq lives in Syria with his warm and loving family, until the bombs strike. He, his father, and his younger sister are the only survivors, and they have no choice but to go to Raqqa, where they have extended family. But Raqqa is a stronghold for Daesh, the militant group claiming to follow the tennets of Islam, yet who really exist only to enable violence and intolerance. Tareq’s family leave quickly, and Tareq heads to Istanbul with his cousin. From there, reunited with his younger sister, they flee successfully to Greece.
This is a story of resilience in the face of darkness, and of one boy’s courage in desperate circumstances. But it is also the story of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. With Destiny as a narrator offering perspective and context, readers see that this conflict in Syria is part of a long chain of wars throughout time — and that, throughout all of those wars, there have also been heroes, small and large, who prove that humanity is ultimately inclined toward good.
THE SKY AT OUR FEET BY NADIA HASHIMI
March 6th 2018
Jason has just learned that his Afghan mother has been living illegally in the United States since his father was killed in Afghanistan. Although Jason was born in the US, it’s hard to feel American now when he’s terrified that his mother will be discovered—and that they will be separated.
When he sees his mother being escorted from her workplace by two officers, Jason feels completely alone. He boards a train with the hope of finding his aunt in New York City, but as soon as he arrives in Penn Station, the bustling city makes him wonder if he’s overestimated what he can do.
After an accident lands him in the hospital, Jason finds an unlikely ally in a fellow patient. Max, a whip-smart girl who wants nothing more than to explore the world on her own terms, joins Jason in planning a daring escape out of the hospital and into the skyscraper jungle—even though they both know that no matter how big New York City is, they won’t be able to run forever.
THIS PROMISE I WILL KEEP BY AISHA SAEED
In it, a Pakistani teenager enters indentured servitude to pay her family’s debts, and must choose between pursuing an education and freedom or the chance to save her village from a dangerous threat.
MIRAGE BY SOMAIYA DAUD
July 3rd 2018
A YA fantasy/SF trilogy inspired by the author’s Moroccan background, in which a poor girl from an isolated moon must become the body double to the cruel imperial princess, and learns that life in the royal palace is far more dangerous and complicated than she imagined.
NOT THE GIRLS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR BY AMINAH MAE SAFI
Feiwel and Friends has acquired We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest winner Aminah Mae Safi’s debut novel Not the Girls You’re Looking For. It’s a coming-of-age novel, set in Houston, that follows Lulu Saad as she navigates the unpredictable waters of love, friendship, and Ramadan. Publication is scheduled for spring 2018.
ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL BY NADINE JOLIE COURTNEY
Farrar, Straus and Giroux has bought Nadine Jolie Courtney’s All-American Muslim Girl, a contemporary YA novel inspired by the author’s own experiences as a Muslim-American. This coming-of-age story follows a 16-year-old girl as she struggles with the feeling of being caught between two worlds and the difficulties of being a modern Muslim teenager in America today. Publication is scheduled for spring 2019.
THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY BY HANNA ALKAF
Told over the course of the 1969 Chinese and Malay riots in Kuala Lumpur, the novel follows a young woman who is separated from her mother by a city in flames, and must use all the grit, courage, and Beatles songs in her arsenal to overcome a multitude of anxieties to find her.
These are all the upcoming MG/YA releases from Muslim authors! Which are you most anticipating? Are there any you’re looking forward to which haven’t been included in this list?