Books to Gift this Eid al-Adha!

Mini Author Q&A ft Sabina Khan

“A timely and honest coming-of-age story that explores the complicated relationship between identity, culture, family, and love.”

We are thrilled to have the brilliant Sabina Khan answering a handful of questions about her newly released YA title Zara Hossain is Here.

What inspired you to sit down and write Zara Hossain is Here?

I wrote Zara Hossain is Here because to highlight the plight of so many legal immigrants in the US who have been waiting for their green cards and whose hopes and dreams are often in a state of limbo while they wait. Even though they go about their daily lives, it’s hard for them to feel safe because it doesn’t take much for everything to fall apart and undo all the hard work they’ve done to build a good life in a new country.

Can you tell us about how your real life experiences inspired this story?

My family and I went through a very difficult ordeal about twenty years ago when we were living in the US awaiting our green cards. Upon checking in with our lawyer about the status of our application we were told that due to a clerical error on his part our process was stalled and we would now have to leave the country with our very young children when our visas expired in a few months. It was incredibly difficult to realize that no one was interested in helping us find a way to rectify the mistake or figure out what to do next.

Their only response was to tell us to leave. So we did. But since we hadn’t been prepared for such a situation, it was very hard emotionally and financially to move to another country yet again and start all over. I decided to write this story to show how precarious life is often for immigrants while they try to pursue their hopes and dreams.

What’s one thing you want readers to take away from Zara Hossain is Here?

I want readers to take away a sense of hope and to know that they’re not alone. And I want young readers in particular to know that they can fight back and that it’s okay to be angry at injustice and to want to fight for your place in the world. 

Are there any similarities between you and the teen protagonist?

Yes definitely! We’re both Muslim immigrants from South Asia trying to build a life in a new country who care about the community we call home. We both feel that we deserve to be treated with fairness. Like Zara, I too try to push back against racism and Islamophobia which, sadly I have had to do quite a lot in the almost thirty years that I’ve lived in North America. And just like Zara, I love my puppy, Karaoke and Bollywood movies.

What is one book that you cannot wait to read in 2021?

I’m dying to read Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto.

What did you find most challenging about writing this story?

The hardest thing about writing this book was having to dig up painful memories from twenty years ago when I moved to Canada with my husband and two little children. It was incredibly difficult to leave behind our lives in Texas where we had started our family and where we had hoped to live for many years.

Can you share anything about your next project?

I do have a book coming out next year, which has not yet been announced. So, for the time being all I can say is that it has a dual POV and plays with time.

Sabina Khan writes about Muslim teens who straddle cultures. She was born in Germany, spent her teens in Bangladesh, and lived in Macao, Illinois, and Texas before settling down in British Columbia with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world.

Zara Hossain is Here, 2021 UK cover

Order your copy of Zara Hossain is Here here at (and help support local Indies!) or Waterstones.

You can find Sabina Khan on Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you for reading! Please do follow our blog to stay up to date with our posts and content.

MVP x Hachette Muslim Employee Network: Ramadan FAQs

زيادة المبيعات في رمضان : 12 نصيحة لترتقي بأعمالك التجارية وتطورها | Ramadan  gif, Ramadan mubarak, Ramadan

Ramadan Mubarak!

We are so thankful that this blessed month is upon us and thrilled to have the Hachette Muslim Employee Network, chaired by Tanjiah Islam and Zakirah Alam, on the blog today!

MVP and the Hachette Muslim Employee Network have teamed up to bring you a list of Ramadan FAQs; questions that Muslims are asked A LOT during this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, most of us enjoy talking about what Islam means to us — it’s such a big part of who we are, after all. But I, for one, know that when I’ve been fasting for 15hrs+ and my mouth is as dry as the Sahara, I’d rather not waste my last morsel of energy answering yet another ‘not even water?’/’but aren’t you hungry?’/’what’s Ramadan again?’

We hope this list of FAQs might be a handy resource, and the chairs have kindly agreed to make it widely available — so, please do share and tag their Twitter or Instagram!

YOU CAN’T EAT ANYTHING? Nope, we can’t eat or drink anything until Iftar (breaking of the fast).

NOT EVEN WATER? Yep, not even water. It sounds difficult, but Muslims have done it every year for around 1,400 years!

IS IT DIFFICULT? Some days are more difficult than others, for sure, but then there are days where the hours fly by. It takes some getting used to, but again, we do this every year. Usually the first ten days are the most challenging — and your stomach is at its most vocal — but it does get easier.

DO YOU ENJOY IT? Yes! Most Muslims look forward to Ramadan every year, as it’s a month that prioritises God, gratitude, the act of giving and self-reflection, and spending time with family and loved ones.

CAN I EAT IN FRONT OF YOU? Yes! Please don’t feel awkward or guilty about eating around us. You’re not being offensive or insensitive – we are choosing to fast! Just behave as you normally would, but be understanding if someone wants to skip a lunch date. Also, it’s okay if you mention or offer food, we won’t burst into flames! Seriously, we’re pretty chill about it.

HOW CAN YOU SURVIVE WITHOUT EATING FOR 30 DAYS? We don’t fast for 30 whole days straight – we just limit the hours we do eat each day. Think of it as intermittent fasting. Except from sunrise until sunset, every day for a month.

I THOUGHT YOU WERE FASTING THIS ENTIRE MONTH, WHY ARE YOU EATING TODAY? Is this really how you want to find out that a colleague is on their period? Because that may be the answer! There are several reasons why someone might not be fasting, including personal health reasons, which they might not feel comfortable disclosing, so please do be considerate and sensitive about this topic.

IS EID THE EQUIVALENT OF CHRISTMAS? WHY DO YOU GET TWO? We gather with loved ones, dress up, exchange presents and eat far too much, so it is similar to Christmas! Muslims celebrate two Eids because each one marks a different occasion in the Islamic calendar; the first Eid (Eid ul-Fitr) happens after Ramadan to celebrate the closing of the blessed month, whereas the second Eid (Eid ul-Adha) marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah (Mecca).

HOW DO YOU WISH SOMEONE A HAPPY RAMADAN OR EID? If you wish to greet your Muslim colleagues, you can say ‘Ramadan Kareem’, which means have a blessed Ramadan. And at the end of the month, on Eid, you can wish them ‘Eid Mubarak’, which means have a blessed festival! Or you could just say ‘happy Ramadan/Eid’, I’m sure they’d be incredibly grateful either way.

If you would like to learn more about how you can support your colleagues/employees during the month of Ramadan, check out these handy tips shared on Twitter by the Hachette Muslim Employee Network — and don’t forget to give them a follow.

And last but not least, have a wonderful and blessed Ramadan, insha’Allah.

Mini Author Q&A ft Radiya Hafiza

Rumaysa: A Fairytale is a thing of beauty. Taking well-loved classic fairytales and giving them her own unique twist – while centring Muslimah main characters – Radiya Hafiza weaves together a magical adventure that will make your heart sing. The enchanting settings, the loveable heroines, the glamour and wit and wonder and MAGIC – starring not one but THREE BADASS MUSLIMAHS. A well-deserved winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month Prize (April, 2021), for sure.

Rumaysa cover illustrated by Areeba Siddique and Rhaida El Touny

What inspired you to sit down and write Rumaysa: A Fairytale?

The match for this particular story was struck one day when I was temping and rather bored at my desk. I started writing about a girl trapped at her desk – I mean tower and it started there. I’ve always loved fairytales and retellings but never saw anyone like me in them. I wondered what would Rapunzel do if she was Muslim and instead of having long hair, it was a long hijab that she threw down to escape? And so Rumaysa was born.

Of your three main characters (Rumaysa, Ayla and Sara), who would you say you are most like?

I feel like Rumaysa is the character I relate to a lot. She is really frustrated with the world (same) and sometimes doesn’t want to help out but do her own thing (same) but seems to get pulled into other people’s situations to help (same). I feel like she’s always quite honest about how she feels which is something I’m trying to do more of.  Some of us don’t want to put on a big smile and pretend everything is all right; some of us are just struggling through and that’s OK.

What’s one thing you want readers to take away from Rumaysa?

I want readers of Rumaysa to feel like anyone can be a hero too, no matter who you are or where you from. The stories are a celebration of strength and friendship, and I think there’s something really special about the girls saving themselves and each other in the story.

Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time…

I’d pick Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik. I read this book years ago and it changed so much of what I thought could be written about Muslims. A funny rom-com with a Muslim woman protagonist? She doesn’t take off her hijab and denounce her faith? She’s not the perfect Muslim or person? This book was a revelation to me and practically the first of its kind in 2015 (and to this day to be honest). It meant so much to me to see a Muslim character living truly to herself and going about life normally as we all do. It was empowering reading that book, so I’d love to have that experience all over again.

What is one book that you cannot wait to read in 2021?

There are so many great books coming out this year but I’m really looking forward to Mayhem Mission by Burhana Islam which looks hilarious. It’s really exciting seeing more Bengali characters in children’s fiction.

What’s your favourite Disney movie?

I actually really love Frozen. Olaf is my absolute favourite – he really carried the second film too. The first time I watched Frozen, I think I was in university, and it made me feel like a kid again. I love the storyline, the characters and the magic of it all.

Can you share anything about your next project?

I can’t say much about it yet as I’m currently working on it, but there will be magic and there will be food.

And a fun bonus question: what is your favourite writing snack?

Salted pistachio nuts are my favourite to snack on but then I end up taking so much time to crack the shells, somehow my pile of shells becomes bigger than my word count. It’s a problem.

Radiya Hafiza studied English Language and Literature at King’s College London and worked in publishing for a few years. She is behind the fantastic blog The Good Assistant. Radiya grew up reading classic Western fairy tales that never had any brown girls in them –Rumaysa is her debut novel, bringing such stories to children who need to see themselves represented.

Pre-order your copy of Rumaysa here at (and help support local Indies!) or Waterstones.

You can find Radiya Hafiza on Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you for reading! Please do follow our blog to stay up to date with our posts and content.

The Colour of God by Ayesha S Chaudhry [MVP BOOK CLUB PICK]

We are thrilled to announce that our first Muslim Voices in Publishing book club pick is the extraordinary The Colour of God by Ayesha S Chaudhry

‘Engrossing.’ Monica Ali

‘Heartbreaking and really funny.’ Ross Gay

‘This book fell into my heart.’ Sabrina Mahfouz

‘The kind of authentic voice that is rarely heard.’ Saima Mir

This is the story of a child raised in Canada by parents who embraced a puritanical version of Islam to shield them from racism. The author explores the joys and sorrows of growing up in a fundamentalist Muslim household, wedding grand historical narratives of colonialism and migration to the small intimate heartbreaks of modern life. In revisiting the beliefs and ideals she was raised with, Chaudhry invites us to reimagine our ideas of self and family, state and citizenship, love and loss.


You can pre-order a copy using the links below and read along with us!

Waterstones |