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London-based Saqi Books is enjoying renewed interest in its anthology challenging myths about Muslim women, The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, following the title’s selection by actress and United Nations Women Goodwill ambassador Emma Watson for her feminist book club Our Shared Self.
Publisher Lynn Gaspard said: “We are rushing through urgent reprints in both the UK and US to meet for a surge in demand in the book. Waterstones and the wholesalers have placed great orders, and we’re hoping that the smaller indies, who were great supporters of the book when it was first published, will also benefit from the selection.”
Saki’s editor and marketing manager Elizabeth Briggs also said there had been interest from foreign publishers in the title, for which Saqi has world rights.
Watson, who famously played Hermione in the Harry Potter films, describes the book as an ‘empowering anthology of essays, poems, opinions and stories”, adding “In the face of Brexit, media misrepresentations, documented intolerance and violent acts of Islamophobia around the world, we are honoured to be able to amplify these diverse voices of British-Muslim women who inspire us with their insight, passion and experience.”
Contributors to the book include Kamila Shamsie, author of the award-winning Home Fire, Ahdaf Soueif, author of Man Booker shortlisted The Map of Love, the Sudanese writer Leila Aboulela whose novel Lyrics Alley won the Scottish Books Award for Fiction, the British Pakistani poet Imtiaz Dharker who won the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2014, and the Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh whose latest work is a translation of One Thousand and One Nights.
The collection is edited British Egyptian playwright, poet and screen writer Sabrina Mahfouz who said: “This is a brilliant start to the New Year! Our Shared Shelf and Emma Watson have done so much to bring many important books to a wide audience and it’s a real honour for The Things I Would Tell You to now be selected. The conversations arising from the book are very close to my heart and should be meaningful to all of us. These voices need to be heard everywhere, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by drawing in readers – from all ages and backgrounds and from across the world – via the book club’s forum.”
Gaspard added: “I’m thrilled for Sabrina and all the brilliant writers published in The Things I Would Tell You. This sensual, humorous, touching and ultimately empowering collection was the first to depict British Muslim women’s multifaceted identities. It provides a vital glimpse into the lives of the unheard. It’s a book everyone should be reading, and we’re over the moon to be working with Our Shared Shelf.”