Watson chooses Saqi's British Muslim women's anthology for book club

Watson chooses Saqi's British Muslim women's anthology for book club

Actress and campaigner Emma Watson has selected an anthology dispelling myths about Muslim women, The Things I Would Tell You (Saqi Books) as the next read for her feminist book club.

The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz, will be the January/February 2019 read choice for Our Shared Shelf, the bi-monthly book club created by Watson. It will be featured and discussed on the club's Goodreads site, featuring 200,000 members, until 28th February.

Billed as “a collection of writing that blows away the narrow image of the ‘Muslim woman”, the anthology was published by Saqi in April 2017, featuring contributors include Kamila Shamsie, Ahdaf Soueif, Leila Aboulela, Imtiaz Dharker and Hanan al-Shaykh. It was acquired in 2016 as a "a creative call to arms for Muslim women in Britain".

A spokesperson for Our Shared Shelf described it as an “empowering anthology of essays, poems, opinions and stories”.

“In the face of Brexit, media misrepresentations, documented intolerance and violent acts of Islamophobia around the world, we are honoured to be able to amplify these diverse voices of British-Muslim women who inspire us with their insight, passion and experience,” they said.

Publisher at Saqi Books Lynn Gaspard said “I’m thrilled for Sabrina and all the brilliant writers published in The Things I Would Tell You. This sensual, humorous, touching and ultimately empowering collection was the first to depict British Muslim women’s multifaceted identities. It provides a vital glimpse into the lives of the unheard. It’s a book everyone should be reading, and we’re over the moon to be working with Our Shared Shelf.”

Mahfouz, also a poet and playwright, described the book selection as “a brilliant start to the New Year”.

She said: “Our Shared Shelf and Emma Watson have done so much to bring many important books to a wide audience and it’s a real honour for The Things I Would Tell You to now be selected. The conversations arising from the book are very close to my heart and should be meaningful to all of us. These voices need to be heard everywhere, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than by drawing in readers - from all ages and backgrounds and from across the world - via the book club’s forum.”

The Things I Would Tell You will be the book club’s 25th read after forming in January 2016, following previous titles by Reni Eddo-Lodge, Angie Thomas, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and Rupi Kaur.

Saqi Books publishes general interest and academic books on North Africa and the Middle East. It was founded by Gaspard's parents more than 35 years ago, with a sister company in Beirut, Dar al Saqi, as well as a London bookshop, Al Saqi Books, in Bayswater.