At the beginning of this year, I posted a photo of my #MuslimShelfSpace after seeing the hashtag campaign circulating over on Twitter. Created by S. K. Ali, author of Saints and Misfits, the initiative highlighted #ownvoices Muslim narratives at a pertinent time – to counter the Islamophobia and hatred fuelled by the U. S. election and travel ban.
Upon taking this, I realised that I hadn’t read as many #ownvoices Muslim narratives as I thought I had and, as a Muslim, this came as a shock to me. In three years, I had read a total of six books by Muslim authors. Why wasn’t I making a more conscious effort to support them? I wanted this to change.
anyone up for a ‘ramadan readathon’ thing in june where we just read as many books by muslim authors as possible??
— nad 🌵 (@scorpioreads) April 28, 2017
A few months later, #RamadanReadathon was born. Not only did it help in increasing my own reading of #ownvoices Muslim narratives, but thanks to the generosity of many authors and publishers we were able to pass on these books to other readers. I also got to interview S. K. Ali on my blog about her debut novel, Saints and Misfits, and the importance of #MuslimShelfSpace!
Since June, I have definitely been making more conscious decisions about the books and authors I choose to read and support. I have a list of upcoming MG/YA books by Muslim authors that I update whenever new book deals are announced, and I’m also co-running the bi-monthly book club @TheMuslimShelf.
And now that the new year is fast approaching, I wanted to share the progress I’ve made. It was important for me to increase the number of Muslim-authored books on my shelf but I think I completely surpassed my expectations.
Note: Not pictured here are Salt. by Nayyirah Waheed, When The Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie which make up my total of thirteen #ownvoices Muslim books read, so far, this year.
Also note: A Change Is Gonna Come and The Good Immigrant are both anthologies that feature work by Muslim authors but aren’t exclusive to them.
Thank you to the publishers – Harper Voyager, Macmillan, Hot Key Books, Scholastic, Stripes, Saqi Books – for sending some of these books my way in exchange for a review. With so many amazing books being published in the coming year, I’m looking forward to seeing how much my collection will expand. Watch this #MuslimShelfSpace!
Let’s talk! Did you set yourself any reading goals this year? How much progress did you make in achieving them? Are there any books you’d like to make an effort to read more of in the new year?