Picador has pre-empted a collection of essays about the Muslim female experience, edited by social media activist Mariam Khan.
The yet-to-be-named essay collection, completely authored by Muslim women "speaking up for who they are and what they believe", came out of a desire to challenge Western views that Muslim women don't speak and to create "a new narrative where Muslim women write about their lives outside the parameters of the expectations projected on them".
Prompted by a leaked conversation in which David Cameron said the "traditional submissiveness" of Muslim women made them unable to speak up against radicalisation of young men in their communities, 24-year-old Khan wanted to show rather it is the West that "always tried to speak over Muslim women, to tell their story for them".
The collection will comprise pieces by Muslim women about the Muslim female experience, answering questions such as: Can Muslim women be feminist? Can Muslim women identify as queer? Are Muslim women oppressed by their hijabs? Confirmed contributors include Mona Eltahawy, Blair Imani, and Malia Bouattia.
Senior editor Sophie Jonathan, who pre-empted world English rights from Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency, hailed it "the most exciting proposal I’ve seen in the last few years", promising the "powerful" collection would "extend the conversation" around the Muslim female experience.
"This is the most exciting proposal I’ve seen in the last few years and every word of this carefully conceived project blew me away," said Jonathan. "There is such erudition and confidence in Mariam’s writing, but also an intimacy I find profoundly moving. This will be an enormously powerful book, and one I know so many people want and need to read. Mariam does not propose to speak for a faith or a group of people, but the book will extend the conversation, and it will help to ensure that we learn about the Muslim female experience from Muslim women and no one else. Varied, dynamic and passionate, this is a project about listening and talking, a book for discussion and debate, a tool for education but also for celebration, and I know it will be at the heart of so many conversations. I cannot wait to get it out into the world."
Khan, author "Femsplain" essay "So, What Generation Immigrant Are You?", said: "I’m delighted to be working with Sophie at Picador to create a book where Muslim women can tell their own stories, because honestly, when was the last time you listened to a Muslim woman speak for herself?"
The collection is scheduled to publish early 2019.