Monday, 17 October 2011

Visit to Batley library

I was invited by Batley Central Library to do a reading from my Zahra books today. A lovely sunny Saturday brought out lots of young children and their mums to the Gallery Room at the Carnegie library.
I read from some of my favourite chapters from my books. One of them was from’ Zahra’s Great Debate’ called ‘Spider’s Pie’. A somewhat mischievous Zahra takes revenge on her enemy Saira by depositing live spiders in a shepherds pie ... which Saira then eats!

Disgusting, I know, but I think the children in the room enjoyed that chapter. I also read from ‘Zahra’s Trip to Misr’, the third book in which Zahra and her best friend Marya witness the runaway camel flee into the desert with an Academy pupil on her back. Who is the girl? Well, seeing as Zahra’s best friends, Hannah and Jo, are responsible for scaring the poor camel, most of the children guessed the unfortunate girl to be Saira!

I also took delight in showing the children the image that will feature on the cover of the fourth Zahra book. The title is ‘Zahra’s Second Year at the Khadija Academy’. It will be released, IA, in December 2011.

Thank you to Chris and Jane for arranging the event and making me feel so welcome. Thank you also to the mums who invited me to their children’s schools. I would love to come back to Batley! x

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Brit Writers Awards 2011

Had a great time at the Brit Writers Awards last night. Held at Madame Tussauds, the evening recognised new unpublished writers, poets and songwriters. These events do make a difference in bringing new talent to everyone's attention. Last year's winner was Catherine Cooper whose book 'The Golden Acorn' has been published. Since then she's sold foreign rights to her work and has even had Hollywood buy her film rights!
Well done, Catherine.
If you're feeling inspired the Brit Writers Awards Unpublished 2012 is open now for submissions.

(with the lovely Zareen Roohi Ahmed, co-organiser of the Brit Writers Awards
and Orianne Breakspear, the winner of the under 16s poetry)

Friday, 7 October 2011

British Muslim Fictions

Had a lovely time last night at the launch of Claire Chamber's book 'British Muslim Fictions' in Bayswater. The synopsis is below. Worth a read if you're interested in British Muslim fiction.
(Photo: Shelina Zahra Janmohamed, me, Claire Chamber & Wendy Meddour


What does it mean to be a writer of Muslim heritage in the UK today? Is there such a thing as 'Muslim fiction'? In a collection of revealing new interviews, Claire Chambers talks to writers including Tariq Ali, Ahdaf Soueif, Hanif Kureishi, and Abdulrazak Gurnah to discuss the impact that their Muslim heritage has had on their writing, and to argue that this body of writing is some of the most important and politically engaged fiction of recent years. From literary techniques and influences to the political and cultural debates that matter to Muslims in Britain and beyond - such as the hijab, the war on terror and the Rushdie affair - these thirteen interviews challenge the idea of a monolithic voice for Islam in Britain. Instead, together they paint a picture of the diversity of voices creating 'British Muslim fictions' which ultimately enriches the cultural, social and political landscape of contemporary Britain.