Two more loving reviews for The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali

'Khan paints her characters with a loving, generous hand ... urging you to remember, and urging you to find delight in the remembering.' Open magazine

'Language remains the strongest character in the narrative ... A consummate storyteller, (Khan) keeps readers engrossed till the end. It is one story that you should not miss.' Tribune

INTERVIEW IN FIRST POST: Imagining the unimaginable with historical fiction

I speak about the book and how it began, and its resonance with today. Also included in the article are a brief excerpt and a wonderful review: "The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali is a vibrant defiance of traditionally accepted histories ... Khan writes of the lives that history would rather ignore, creating a brilliant gash in the narrative structure historically manufactured."

Whales: Past, Present, and Endangered

Magical whale-watch, the closest I've come to a living whale. As some of you may know, I once wrote a novel, The Geometry of God, about a young girl who finds the fossil of Pakicetus, a hoofed whale that lived about 55 million years ago in what is now Pakistan. The actual fossil was discovered by an American man in the Salt Range mountains, about three hours from Lahore, where I lived at the time. I had fun fictionalizing the find, crediting a Pakistani girl for her smarts, drawing pictures of Pakicetus and other walking and amphibious prehistoric whales to include in the story. I'd always wanted to draw weird and beautiful things for a book of my own ever since reading Saint-Exupery's heartbreaking The Little Prince.

Before then, in 1995, I'd seen a humpback breach in Maui, next to an astonished kayaker who began kayaking a little frantically, as the whale kept breaching. 

Next sighting was in 2008, also in Maui, on a whale-watching trip where we saw a pod of humpbacks blowing and breaching, but it was pretty far and folks were more interested in a cocktail-and-sunset Hawaii, making me mostly want to get off the boat (but for the fleeting visitors on the water).

Then, last Sunday, on April 14 2019, off Plymouth, MA, this humpback romped around our boat for half an hour, blowing us a perfect concentric kiss, floating on its back, reversing the gaze. We also saw a pod of five humpbacks; a solitary right whale (critically endangered so we did not linger; it's called the right whale as it is slow and feeds on the surface, making it the right one to kill); a solitary finback (the second largest whale after blue whales, and the fastest); a pod of minkes. Tons of white-sided Atlantic and common dolphins, harbor porpoises, and gray and harbor seals, feasting alongside.  

A beautiful gift of a day, the sort that, like whales, happens only once.

THE MIRACULOUS TRUE HISTORY OF NOMI ALI -- new book forthcoming this spring!

Super excited for my forthcoming novel, and its gorgeous cover!

Though I normally avoid introducing my own work, this one, my fifth, has been 26 + years in the making, so.

It began with a quote that I accidentally discovered, a British politician from the 1930s describing a group of islands to which Indian 'terrorists' were banished as a 'paradise.' He was referring to the prison colony of the Andaman Islands.  At the time I found the quote, the islands were almost entirely written out of history. Women prisoners of course rarely merited even a footnote. And the Japanese had destroyed all record of their occupation of the islands during the Second World War. I'd gone to the library for another book (that I didn't find). I came away with the one I had to write.

Whose history do we believe, whose do we erase? After two decades plus of not knowing and slow knowing, chasing and dreaming material -- that I, as a Pakistani, have had limited access to my pre-Partition history IS my history -- here is The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali. The events and characters are partly based on actual ones but it is, of course, fiction.

Feels like I've been winding my way to this book my entire life.

Here's the full cover spread, by the immensely gifted Bhavi Mehta

'My Mother is a Lunar Crater' is nominated for two awards

Thrilled to learn today that my short story "My Mother is a Lunar Crater" was awarded second prize in Zoetrope: All Story's short fiction competition  The judge was the luminous Colum McCann, whom I have been reading and loving for years and years. 
(His gorgeous 'Everything in this Country Must' is possibly the short story I have re-read most -- it always tugs, always sings.) 

This fall "My Mother is a Lunar Crater" was also selected as a runner up for the Margarita Donnelly Prize for prose writing in Calyx magazine. 

I love both these magazines! 

Delighted to be listed with these amazing writers!

I do indeed want to read them all. 

And a thought. At one time, I’d have asked, why “Muslim woman writer” and wondered which was more questionable – woman or Muslim. But given how rarely Muslim writers -- especially women -- are read, and yet how universally we are spoken for and policed, enough pretending that this exclusion is an accident. And thank you, !