Ever since I finished reading Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali, I have been craving more books by Muslim authors. While I have a whole bookshelf full of brilliant #OwnVoices titles, I also like to keep an eye out for upcoming releases so that I don’t fall behind with the latest publications. I may not get a chance to read them hot off the presses, but I do love supporting Muslims authors and try to make a point of spreading awareness for them as they grow in the industry when I’m able to do so.
Today, I wanted to shine a light on some of the books that will be getting published in the second half of 2020, as well as a few months into the 2021. This isn’t a full and complete list of all upcoming Islamic fiction reads; mostly the titles that I am anticipating above all else. Also, since there are a few that haven’t received a definitive release date for 2021 yet, I excluded them for the time being. Nonetheless, I tried to include all the ones that I came across in my search.
If you’re a fan of diverse narratives, particularly ones authored by and revolving around characters and situations with culturally and religiously rich experiences, then please check out these books as they approach their pub birthdays! If you have an #OwnVoices Muslim literature book that shall be hitting shelves soon-ish that isn’t listed here, please drop them in the comments so folx can discover them. Let’s all uplift Muslim voices together whenever we can!
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf: An #OwnVoices Malaysian-Muslim middle grade book that is inspired by a Malaysian folktale. It follows Suraya who is the granddaughter of a witch. When her grandmother gifts her with a pelesit, she feels so happy. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two become virtually inseparable. But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits can have a dark side to them. When Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they find enough light to survive before they are both lost to the darkness.
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir: An #OwnVoices South Asian-Muslim young adult fantasy novel that is the fourth and final instalment in the An Ember in the Ashes quartet. The book wraps up the epic tale about three young people who shall change the fate of warring races in this politically charged, visceral series. For more information on the quartet, please visit its GoodReads page. A full synopsis of this specific title was not provided to avoid major spoilers.
Crowning Soul by Samira Javaid: An #OwnVoices Islamic young adult fantasy novel that is advertised as being Inuyasha colliding with The City of Brass. The story is about a young girl names Nezha Zaman who has a dangerous secret: she can control fire. Her secret starts to unravel when she encounters a vengeful jinni in a maze garden that has been stalking her family and is very much aware of her power. Weeks after seeing the demonic creature, Nezha is torn from her world and transported to another dimension, which seeks the light inside her heart.
The Bladebone by Asuma Zehnat Khan: This is the fourth instalment in the author’s epic #OwnVoices Islamic adult fantasy series, The Khorasan Archives and follows a band of incredible women warriors. For more information on this series, please visit its GoodReads page. A full synopsis for the book was not provided to avoid major spoilers.
Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud: The final book in Daud’s #OwnVoices Islamic young adult fantasy duology, The Mirage, which is rich with culture, intrigue, identity, and revolution. For more information on this duology, please visit its GoodReads page. A full synopsis of this novel was not provided to avoid spoilers.
Seven by Farzana Doctor: An #OwnVoices Indian-Muslim literary fiction novel about a woman named Sharifa who accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016. She thinks that she is going to research her great-grandfather, who was a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. What captures her interest isn’t his business finesse, but rather the mystery of his four wives who are missing from the family’s lore. Sharifa’s trip happens to coincide with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and escaping its politics is nigh impossible. While she’s there, a group of feminists rise up in speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle, neutral ground. As the issue gets deeper and more intense, Sharifa learns an unexpected truth and finds herself forced to take a position on the issue after all.
Homeland Elegies: A Novel by Ayad Akthar: A personal work from the acclaimed author of American Dervish, the #OwnVoices Islamic literary novel tells an epic story in a post 9/11 era in a novel that is part family drama, part social essay, and part exploration of personal identity in a tale following a father and son in a country they both call home. The story shifts through different settings such as the heartland town in America to the palatial suites in Central Europe to the guerrilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan.
City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda: A middle-grade #OwnVoices Indian-Muslim tale from Rick Riordan presents, the book takes characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh to craft a high-stakes adventure in which all of Manhattan is threatened by the ancient god of plagues. Thirteen-year-old Sik wants a simple life going to school and helping out at his parents’ deli, but it’s blown to pieces when Nergal comes looking for him, believing that Sik holds the secret to eternal life. Turns out Sik is immortal but doesn’t know it yet and it’s about to get him, and the entire city, into a whole mess of deep, deep trouble.
Bride of the Sea by Eman Quotah: An #OwnVoices Saudi Arabian-Muslim multigenerational family saga that begins with Muneer and Saeedah, who have arrived in America to start their newlywed lives together while expecting their first child. But Muneer harbours a terrible secret: the word divorce has begun whispering itself in his ear. Soon, their marriage will end and Muneer will return to Saudi Arabia, while Saeedah remains in Cleveland with their daughter, Hanadi. The more time she spends with her daughter, the more Saeedah wants to keep her close. Before long, Hanadi leads Saeedah to think that she and her daughter have no choice but to hide for fear of being separated from one another. When Saeedah disappears to build a new life with her daughter, Muneer is left desperately searching for his daughter in a different country for many years to come.
Silence is a Sense by Layla AlAmmar: An #OwnVoices Syrian-Islamic literary debut about a young woman living in an unnamed English city, absorbed in watching the small dramas of her assorted neighbours through her window. Traumatised into muteness after a long, devastating trip from war-torn Syria to the U.K., she believes that she wants to sink further into isolation, moving between memories of an absent partner, her family, her homeland, her dreams, and her reality. At the same time, she begins writing for a magazine under a pseudonym, The Voiceless, trying to explain the refugee experience without sensationalising it, or revealing anything about herself.
As you can see, there are quite a few bookish marvels releasing within the next year and I am positively ecstatic for all of them! I can tell already that these gems will provide a ride of emotions via their incredible stories and I can’t wait to read and review them as they are released.
For more information on the book, please check out their GoodReads pages, linked via their titles and/or via other provided links within their respective snippets.