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From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the 'Muslim Woman'. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the 'Muslim Woman'. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo. From Algiers to Brighton, these stories transcend time and place revealing just how varied the search for belonging can be. Between them the writers in this anthology have been short- or long-listed for four Orange Prizes, two Man Booker Prizes and won countless other awards. Alongside renowned authors are emerging voices published here for the first time.


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From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the 'Muslim Woman'. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of From established literary heavyweights to emerging spoken word artists, the writers in this ground-breaking collection blow away the narrow image of the 'Muslim Woman'. Hear from users of Islamic Tinder, a disenchanted Maulana working as a TV chat show host and a plastic surgeon blackmailed by MI6. Follow the career of an actress with Middle-Eastern heritage whose dreams of playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo. From Algiers to Brighton, these stories transcend time and place revealing just how varied the search for belonging can be. Between them the writers in this anthology have been short- or long-listed for four Orange Prizes, two Man Booker Prizes and won countless other awards. Alongside renowned authors are emerging voices published here for the first time.

30 review for The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    What does it mean to be British and Muslim? This is a question these writers tackle with stunning clarity. Modern day British society has a varied sense of cultural heritage; it is a society that is changing and moving forward as it adds more and more voices to the population, but it is also one that has an undercurrent of anxiety and fear towards those who are minorities. So this collection displays how all that fear is received; it comes in the form of stereotypical labels and racial prejudice What does it mean to be British and Muslim? This is a question these writers tackle with stunning clarity. Modern day British society has a varied sense of cultural heritage; it is a society that is changing and moving forward as it adds more and more voices to the population, but it is also one that has an undercurrent of anxiety and fear towards those who are minorities. So this collection displays how all that fear is received; it comes in the form of stereotypical labels and racial prejudice, which are themes eloquently reproduced here. Chimene Suleyman's short story Us is one of the strongest examples. It is a harrowingly beautiful piece of writing which once it has been read simply cannot be unread. Madeeha, a Muslim woman, is asked to apologise for the killings carried out by extreme radicals of her faith. Suffice to say, her relevance to the event is non-existent. She refuses, so she is attacked in the street by white British men who have falsely (and ignorantly) presumed that she would condone such actions. Madeeha is left humiliated, frightened and, most of all, angry. Suleyman demonstrates how hate only leads to more hate, ultimately, creating a cycle that is bad for all members of society. Racial stereotyping is something very common on the streets of Britain. The writing of Seema Begum addresses how such a thing can be debunked through poetry. The literary cannon, at least what we are taught in early education, can be very restrictive. Those who are Muslim and British may struggle to identify with some of the things they read at school. This book, though, is a celebration: a celebration of what it is to be British and Muslim. There is a strong sense of empowerment within these pages, empowerment of womanhood and individual identity. Begum's poetry piece was one of my favourite in here for those reasons exactly. As well as short stories and poetry, there are also a couple of pieces for the stage and a taster of non-fiction writing added to the anthology. These present similar themes, but come from slightly different angles. There's a real mixture of writers in here; some have received literary awards and some have never been published before at all. However, I do think the collection as a whole is slightly one sided; it predominantly focuses on the negative experiences these women face. There are, no doubt, good ones too. Not everybody is as unwelcoming as some of the people in here. Granted, this goes against the general theme of the book, but I do feel like this is something that shouldn't be overlooked. Perhaps a brief mention in the introduction would have been appropriate. This however is only a minor criticism on my behalf. This anthology is strikingly relevant today. Not only that, it is one that is sorely needed. Racial prejudice and hate crimes are always in the news and displayed across social media, many of which, as represented in some of the pieces, are born of ignorance. The veil is lifted here. This is, indeed, a very contemporary collection of voices, voices that have an experience that they need to share. -I received an arc of this book from The Bookbag in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Such an important collection that centers the voices of British Muslim women. While I expected a series of nonfiction essays, The Things I Would Tell You contains short fiction, poetry, essays, and more. These women write with an unapologetic fierceness that both speaks to their experiences of marginalization while rising above and beyond it. Some of my favorite pieces included Chimene Suleyman’s “Us,” a short story that centers the imminent danger of stereotypes, Triska Hamid’s “Islamic Tinder, Such an important collection that centers the voices of British Muslim women. While I expected a series of nonfiction essays, The Things I Would Tell You contains short fiction, poetry, essays, and more. These women write with an unapologetic fierceness that both speaks to their experiences of marginalization while rising above and beyond it. Some of my favorite pieces included Chimene Suleyman’s “Us,” a short story that centers the imminent danger of stereotypes, Triska Hamid’s “Islamic Tinder,” for its wry yet real take on how successful, self-aware women struggle to find unafraid, competent men to date, Shaista Azis’s “Blood and Broken Bones,” about patriarchy and honor killings, Miss L’s “Stand By Me,” an essay that tackles how women of color struggle in a racist and sexist acting industry, and Hibaq Osman’s riveting poetry collection “The Things I Would Tell You.” This collection addresses a wide range of topics and feels full of energy, experimentation, and honest expressions of culture. Though the switching back and forth from different genres threw me off a bit and some of the pieces confused me or did not resonate as much, I feel grateful to have read this and would recommend it to those who want to diversify their literary pallet. Thank you to Sabrina Mahfouz for creating this platform for these talented women to share their work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Yara Fathalla

    I really wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't what I expected to find. If a reader wants to get a glimpse of "British Muslim Women's" lives, this is not the book for you. It's a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and a play, with varying themes, all written by "British Muslim women". I expected more pieces to be about the women's personal experiences, identities and challenges. Yet most pieces were present in the collection just because the authors are "British Muslim women", n I really wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't what I expected to find. If a reader wants to get a glimpse of "British Muslim Women's" lives, this is not the book for you. It's a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and a play, with varying themes, all written by "British Muslim women". I expected more pieces to be about the women's personal experiences, identities and challenges. Yet most pieces were present in the collection just because the authors are "British Muslim women", not because the themes fit the book. I was confused, a lot. It also seemed a bit chaotic, having to alternate between poetry, short story and a political essay, then back to poetry. Having said that, I really enjoyed Sabrina Mahfouz story about a muslim surgeon and an interaction with an MI6 agent, Triska Hamid's essay about the challenge of finding a suitable partner for muslim women in the west, Ahdaf Soueif essay on the British Media's narrative on the Middle East , Seema Begum's poem about women's role in society (which she wrote at 14 years old!) and Samira Shackles story about finding a place for herself in Pakistan, her mother's homeland.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! I don’t read many anthologies but, as a British Muslim woman, I was really excited to read this one. This is a diverse collection of short stories, essays, plays and poetry from Muslim women across the UK. Unlike most anthologies I’ve read, the pieces here aren’t connected by a single theme, but some of those that really stood out to me were written on the themes of identity, gender and cultural traditions. I Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review! I don’t read many anthologies but, as a British Muslim woman, I was really excited to read this one. This is a diverse collection of short stories, essays, plays and poetry from Muslim women across the UK. Unlike most anthologies I’ve read, the pieces here aren’t connected by a single theme, but some of those that really stood out to me were written on the themes of identity, gender and cultural traditions. I particularly enjoyed the poetic pieces, and Kamila Shamsie’s short story 'The Girl Next Door.' Overall, this anthology is recommended if you’re looking to read diversely; each voice is united in its experience of being a Muslim woman but there is so much variety in age and ethnicity amongst other factors, with the youngest contributor being only fourteen years old. It’s a fairly short read but also far from light in terms of the themes that are covered. I will definitely be checking out other work(s) from some of the amazing writers I’ve discovered through reading it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aaliyah

    I remember when I first came across news of this collection on twitter. It had yet to be published but a picture of it had been released and the title alone was enough to blow me away, 'The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write' - edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Just the title alone told me that this was granting British Muslim Women the agency, the voice that we need! • This collection features work by 22 British Muslim Women, ranging from successful, established writers such as Kamila S I remember when I first came across news of this collection on twitter. It had yet to be published but a picture of it had been released and the title alone was enough to blow me away, 'The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write' - edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Just the title alone told me that this was granting British Muslim Women the agency, the voice that we need! • This collection features work by 22 British Muslim Women, ranging from successful, established writers such as Kamila Shamsie (whose novel, Burnt Shadows is one of my all time favourites) to a 15 year old schoolgirl who wrote a poem that took my breath away. Naturally, I didn't love every piece of work in this collection, some pieces of work were certainly better than others or more interesting (in my opinion). • This isn't a collection of essays about the writers' experiences as BMW, and while that would've also been great I think this collection is doing something even more important. It's showcasing the talents of BMW. They are unapologetic and fierce and this is certainly reflected in their work. This collection contains plays, poems, short stories and concise essays. Each one is of value, each one deserves recognition. I am proud of these women, and I hope to be included on the list of British Muslim Women Writers some day.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amal Bedhyefi

    Quite recently , Emma Watson chose this book for her feminist book club : Our Shared Shelf . Everyone was picking it up , and so did I ( thanks to Saqi Books & Elisabeth) . The things I would tell you is an anthology edited by Sabrina Mahfouz , a British/Egyptian play/screen writer and a poet . In other words , it is a collection of works ( short stories , plays , essays , poems ) written by british muslim women and It mainly examines a lot of different perceptions of what s being a muslim woman Quite recently , Emma Watson chose this book for her feminist book club : Our Shared Shelf . Everyone was picking it up , and so did I ( thanks to Saqi Books & Elisabeth) . The things I would tell you is an anthology edited by Sabrina Mahfouz , a British/Egyptian play/screen writer and a poet . In other words , it is a collection of works ( short stories , plays , essays , poems ) written by british muslim women and It mainly examines a lot of different perceptions of what s being a muslim woman truly means . It is so hard to give a one-size-fits-all kind of review for all of the chapters since there is a wide range of works here . But I have to admit that some chapters were not to my taste , which is bound to happen with anthologies. They are either written in a fancy unfathomable way ( like the first chapter) or unrelatable ( like most of the poems). Sabrina Mahfouz's Battleface , Kamila Shamsie's The girl next door and Ahdaf Soueif's Mezzaterra are my absolute favourites . Kamila Shamsie really hit me hard with her story . If you're thinking about reading this one , you have to forget about the hype ( so that you won't be disappointed afterwards) . Leave your expectations and comparisons , especially wih the good immigrant, aside , and enjoy a book that celebrates diversity and representation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Undleeb Red

    Worth it for Mahfouz's writing alone. Worth it for Mahfouz's writing alone.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Ismaa

    This book = why representation matters. If you want a better and clearer picture of Muslim women AND men, read this book. If you’re really interested in understanding Muslim men and women, this book is for you. So many amazing stories, authors, poets, journalists and playwrights. My favourite story is Kamila Shamsie’s ‘The Girl Next Door’, I was in a complete daze after reading her short story. It caused me to sincerely reflect. It starts off as an innocent gossiping tone taking place at a makeu This book = why representation matters. If you want a better and clearer picture of Muslim women AND men, read this book. If you’re really interested in understanding Muslim men and women, this book is for you. So many amazing stories, authors, poets, journalists and playwrights. My favourite story is Kamila Shamsie’s ‘The Girl Next Door’, I was in a complete daze after reading her short story. It caused me to sincerely reflect. It starts off as an innocent gossiping tone taking place at a makeup room in a TV studio where they watch a show where pious men (I think they are Hafiz’s) are taking the call of a woman who has performed Hajj, but her vision was veiled when she attempted to view the Kabah. The Hafiz’s interpret whether a veil has been placed on her view which hindered her from viewing the Kabah. They discuss what she could have done wrong and that she must have done wrong. Our narrator, the makeup artist, does so too until the Hafiz she is applying makeup on, who was fired from the show they are watching, reminds her to focus on her own self and remember that a veil might be placed or might have already been placed on our heart. All this time focusing on what who this and that has done wrong, but what about our own selves? What have I done to be a good Muslim? What can I do to be better? It’s all very good to call people out, but I must remember to work on myself first and foremost. It was a powerful story that took me by surprise because you would never expect that this is the turn the story will take. 4 1/2 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rookie

    Some contributions that are brilliant, hit-you-like-nothing-you've-read-pieces. Others so-so. An unusual read Some contributions that are brilliant, hit-you-like-nothing-you've-read-pieces. Others so-so. An unusual read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    A handful of good pieces, the best being the editor's Battleface. There's quite a lot of artsy-fartsy writing in the anthology, and oftentimes I found myself thinking, I have no idea what I've just read. Perhaps it'd help if you're more familiar with the culture? A handful of good pieces, the best being the editor's Battleface. There's quite a lot of artsy-fartsy writing in the anthology, and oftentimes I found myself thinking, I have no idea what I've just read. Perhaps it'd help if you're more familiar with the culture?

  11. 5 out of 5

    SARA ABUDAHAB

    I have been wanting to read this one ever since Emma Watson added it to her book club, I was so excited that she picked something related to Muslims! I started reading it a couple of years ago and I didn't enjoy it at all, and I thought to myself maybe it's me, maybe I'm too busy, and that I need to read it when I am on vacation to enjoy its hidden gems. I tried again and just couldn't go past 30%, and as this year is coming to an end I decided to give it one last try and I REALLY WANTED TO LIK I have been wanting to read this one ever since Emma Watson added it to her book club, I was so excited that she picked something related to Muslims! I started reading it a couple of years ago and I didn't enjoy it at all, and I thought to myself maybe it's me, maybe I'm too busy, and that I need to read it when I am on vacation to enjoy its hidden gems. I tried again and just couldn't go past 30%, and as this year is coming to an end I decided to give it one last try and I REALLY WANTED TO LIKE THIS BOOK BUT I DON'T , I couldn't relate to any parts of it at all (which is super weird because I am Muslim and I am a woman). This is the third time that I am pushing myself to read it hoping that I will find something to connect with but I just can't ... I am sorry but I am leaving this at 68% done! (view spoiler)[ This is the only part that I found interesting... Islamic Tinder The problem is not so much with the apps themselves, it’s the quality of Muslim men available. Fewer Muslim men have graduated from Oxbridge and Ivy-League universities compared to women, and those that have end up marrying outside their academic community. ‘It’s as if our being their academic equals means we must be inadequate wives and mothers,’ says Noura. All of these girls have been called ‘intimidating’ and ‘outspoken’ by their Muslim male counterparts, simply for being themselves. Their accomplishments usually leave men feeling emasculated, they say. ‘It’s still going to take Muslim men a couple more generations to catch up and realise that girls like us want love, not money,’ says Ayesha. (hide spoiler)]

  12. 5 out of 5

    kagami

    As the book is a cluster of different works, I'd rather not rate it (but if I had to I'd give it 2,5 stars as an average). The reason I picked this book is because I was interested in a viewpoint which is different from mine, mainly in terms of the religious aspect of life, and as a whole I was not disappointed. There were several works which I quite liked, in no particular order: 'The Girl Next Door' by Kamila Shamise; 'Blood and Broken Bodies' by Shaista Aziz - about so called 'honour killings', As the book is a cluster of different works, I'd rather not rate it (but if I had to I'd give it 2,5 stars as an average). The reason I picked this book is because I was interested in a viewpoint which is different from mine, mainly in terms of the religious aspect of life, and as a whole I was not disappointed. There were several works which I quite liked, in no particular order: 'The Girl Next Door' by Kamila Shamise; 'Blood and Broken Bodies' by Shaista Aziz - about so called 'honour killings', couldn't agree more with the views expressed; 'Uomini Cardanno' - a poem by 14 year old Seema Begun - super inspiring; 'Mezzaterra' - an interesting essay by London-resident Egyptian journalist Ahdaf Soueif berating the western society for not being well informed about the Middle East (but I do agree with her view of Israel the geopolitical entity); 'Islamic Tinder' - an essay by Triska Hamid which talks about successful women not being able to find a muslim partner on their level, which reminds me of exceptionally good Bulgarian (non religious christian) women staying single well into their mid-30s for lack of good enough Bulgarian men to match them; 'Belongings' - a very touching poem by Asma Elbadawi; 'Battlefield' - a play by Sabrina Mahfouz.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rima

    Reading The Things I Would Tell You was like coming home and knowing that you're safe. That you're understood. Finally. A collection of stories, plays, poetry and commentaries, British women of colour lay their voice on the frustrating and tiresome image of the 'Muslim woman'. From Islamic Tinder to a grandmother who was a former prostitute, I loved that the book included literary heavy weights like Leila Aboulela as well as first time published Nafeesa Hamid and a 14 year old student from a loc Reading The Things I Would Tell You was like coming home and knowing that you're safe. That you're understood. Finally. A collection of stories, plays, poetry and commentaries, British women of colour lay their voice on the frustrating and tiresome image of the 'Muslim woman'. From Islamic Tinder to a grandmother who was a former prostitute, I loved that the book included literary heavy weights like Leila Aboulela as well as first time published Nafeesa Hamid and a 14 year old student from a local school near me. ~ Some of my highlights: - Kamila Shamsie's 'The Girl Next Door' on talk show maulanas forcing a caller to divorce his wife. - Shaista Aziz's 'Blood and Broken Bodies' is a cry for help for Pakistani brothers and dads to look at themselves and not God when they honour kill. - Azra Tabassum 'Brown Girl and other poems' is everything I wanted to hear growing up.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    This impressive collection of work by contemporary British Muslim women is not only timely and important, but it crucially pops the bubble of the notion of the The British Muslim. The texts range a cross genre – fiction, journalism, poetry, commentary and more – and across modes – of critique, of anger, of despair, of the erotic, of the meditative, of location and dislocation – to challenge readers and dominant voices about Muslimah to think and reflect on complexity, difference, diversity and d This impressive collection of work by contemporary British Muslim women is not only timely and important, but it crucially pops the bubble of the notion of the The British Muslim. The texts range a cross genre – fiction, journalism, poetry, commentary and more – and across modes – of critique, of anger, of despair, of the erotic, of the meditative, of location and dislocation – to challenge readers and dominant voices about Muslimah to think and reflect on complexity, difference, diversity and distinctiveness to further explode the definite article. The collection of new and previously published pieces, of new and previously published authors is a sign of Mahfouz’s editorial skill in both allowing piece to speak for themselves and to engage in dialogue with each other and with, in some cases, authors’ other works. Equally, her decision to open with Fadia Faqir’s bitter sweet story of suspicion and end with Hanan al-Shaykh’s tragic tale of alienation, both in distinctive English institutions frames the experiences of British Muslim women as fitting but not fitting, and alien and very much of the place – of ambiguity masking abjection and of silencing. Some of the strongest pieces, for me, were the poetry – I’d seen some of the poets perform (Mahfouz, Asma Elbadawi and Nafisa Hamid – all impressive, but Elbadawi’s pieces evoked powerfully) – while Seema Begum’s stunning ‘Uomini Cadranno’, written when just 14, portends a major talent. Among the non-fiction, Samira Shackle’s discovery of her Pakistani family’s world paints a picture of never quite fitting and being just fine with that, and Triska Hamid’s delightful ‘Islamic Tinder’ on the perils of on-line dating. Amid all these, many of the pieces reminded me of Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s poem: So, here you are too foreign for home too foreign for here. Never enough for both. Yet I don’t want to suggest that these are multiple version of the same story of dislocation: Chimene Suleyman writes of grimey urban lives, of boys finding places in the world while Mahfouz’s playscript ‘Battleface’ unpacks the presumptions of the ‘security services’ in tragicomic form (in that it’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so bloody believably absurd). As with every collection of this kind, there are pieces that work better than other and some that make little impact – but that’s the way of the smorgasbord. What’s more, I’m sure that next time I pick it up I’ll engage with some pieces quite differently. Even noting that, this is a valuable collection that tempts me to explore some of these writers further.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rose Heartfilia

    What I liked most about it (and like feels like such a bad word) were the poems. There were a lot of stories that I found interesting, if not all of them and it gave me another eye-opener on the road that I am now taking with the last books I read. The resembles with one of the chapters to the book of Why I am no longer talking to white people about race, did not surprise me and yet it did. The effect that Brexit had on the racists feeling of some people in England. It is a shame, more I can't s What I liked most about it (and like feels like such a bad word) were the poems. There were a lot of stories that I found interesting, if not all of them and it gave me another eye-opener on the road that I am now taking with the last books I read. The resembles with one of the chapters to the book of Why I am no longer talking to white people about race, did not surprise me and yet it did. The effect that Brexit had on the racists feeling of some people in England. It is a shame, more I can't say but it's simply a thing, I wish it wasn't. My favourite story might be The Girl Next Door, it gave so much and yet so little that it leaves you wondering in a satisfied manner (more stories had that) the building up of the prose is perfect for that. I don't know why I gave it such a low rating, there were stories I found difficult to read or to capture my attention but in general, it wasn't bad and it had nothing to do with what they wrote about maybe just the writing style if I have to pick a reason. One of the first poems struck me because of what I thought was a double meaning Home, to a man. Even if it was the first poem it still makes me think about it 5 days later. Impressive work for someone who barely thinks and reads poetry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I read this book because Emma Watson told me to (via Our Shared Shelf). My first impression was that I probably didn't understand as much of it, especially the poetry, in no small part because I don't have as much cultural knowledge. And that's okay. I liked being confronted by that. There's a good mix of fiction/non-fiction. Poetry vs prose. British locale vs foreign locale. The role of religion was varied throughout as well. By that I mean for the majority of the stories, faith/religion are cr I read this book because Emma Watson told me to (via Our Shared Shelf). My first impression was that I probably didn't understand as much of it, especially the poetry, in no small part because I don't have as much cultural knowledge. And that's okay. I liked being confronted by that. There's a good mix of fiction/non-fiction. Poetry vs prose. British locale vs foreign locale. The role of religion was varied throughout as well. By that I mean for the majority of the stories, faith/religion are crucial; the story/poem wouldn't function the same if the character/author weren't Muslim. For some pieces it was more universal and the fact that the author identifies as Muslim is irrelevant to the writing. Obviously I had favorite pieces within the book but the collection as a whole is strong. There was only 1 dud for me but I won't name it here. Each piece is quite short so you could easily dip in and out of the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Talitha Cunio

    I really enjoyed The Girl Next Door, Islamic Tinder, Over my Dead Body, Stand by me (probably my favorite), Staying Alive, Take Me There, Last Assignment, Belongings, and My Other Half. Some of the other writings did not resonate with me. And it was difficult to switch from one genre to the next. But I am grateful to have been introduced to these diverse authors and I'll keep a lookout for longer works from my favorite ones. I really enjoyed The Girl Next Door, Islamic Tinder, Over my Dead Body, Stand by me (probably my favorite), Staying Alive, Take Me There, Last Assignment, Belongings, and My Other Half. Some of the other writings did not resonate with me. And it was difficult to switch from one genre to the next. But I am grateful to have been introduced to these diverse authors and I'll keep a lookout for longer works from my favorite ones.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ntamson

    A fantastic scope of voices through poetry, fiction, non fiction and plays. The writings took me across the globe but I recognised each of them among my friends, neighbours, colleagues and family (Muslim and non-Muslim alike). Read it and open your eyes!

  19. 5 out of 5

    lizzie parkes

    I enjoyed this book for the most part, but I don’t feel that the subject matter was completely true to how it is depicted on the blurb. The book is described as being centred around disbanding the ‘narrow image of the Muslim Woman’ (particularly in Britain), which I feel some of the stories did and others not so well. Whilst all of the books contributors have middle-eastern heritage and also identify as british some of the stories were not set in britain - which is not what I had expected. Many I enjoyed this book for the most part, but I don’t feel that the subject matter was completely true to how it is depicted on the blurb. The book is described as being centred around disbanding the ‘narrow image of the Muslim Woman’ (particularly in Britain), which I feel some of the stories did and others not so well. Whilst all of the books contributors have middle-eastern heritage and also identify as british some of the stories were not set in britain - which is not what I had expected. Many of the stories carry a more educational tone than I anticipated which gave the book a different spin. All very valuable content but 3 stars because I didn’t feel it lived up to my expectations.. probably through my own naivety and lack of insight into the book before reading!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This book is my gteway for a whole section of literature I did not know about, at all, until now. It gives glimpses into all kinds of written beauty and will help me read more of these wonderful women, putting their thoughs onto pages in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tasleem

    The things I Would Tell You is an anthology written about the realities of being a British Muslim woman. I enjoyed the mixture between poetry, essays, short stories and a play. The work in this book does not conform to a single theme and instead touches on multiple areas of interest; culture, gender, romance, abuse, identity, to name a few. I fell in love with this book because I read pieces about myself, my childhood, my upbringing within the pages and also learnt from Muslim women who expressed The things I Would Tell You is an anthology written about the realities of being a British Muslim woman. I enjoyed the mixture between poetry, essays, short stories and a play. The work in this book does not conform to a single theme and instead touches on multiple areas of interest; culture, gender, romance, abuse, identity, to name a few. I fell in love with this book because I read pieces about myself, my childhood, my upbringing within the pages and also learnt from Muslim women who expressed struggles different to my own. Each voice in this book, being from a different age and ethnicity, speaks on their experience of being a Muslim woman having lived in Britain and of course, there is so much variety between each writer. I definitely recommend this book to everyone! So many great pieces within this book and some of my highlights below: ✨Seema Begum's poem 'Uomini Cadranno' which she wrote when she was 14 years old! ✨Shaista Aziz 'Blood and Broken Bodies' is a powerful piece that begs Pakistani brothers and fathers to look at themselves, and not God, when they honour kill. ✨Hibaq Osman 'Thing Things I Would Tell You and other poems' expresses what it's like growing up the children of immigrants. ✨Azra Tabassum 'Brown Girl and other poems' is everything I wanted to hear growing up. I will definitely be checking out other works from writers I've discovered within this book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl)

    For me, the jingle with the power to make or mar an anthology, is the introduction and in The Things I Would Tell You, Sabrina Mahfouz used the introduction to walk us through why an anthology that represents the diverse nature of Muslim women (in this case British Muslim Women) is important and why lack there of can disempower. The Things I Would Tell You, containing contributions from 22 British Muslim women, sets out to achieve ‘proper representation’ and it did so impressively, being a first For me, the jingle with the power to make or mar an anthology, is the introduction and in The Things I Would Tell You, Sabrina Mahfouz used the introduction to walk us through why an anthology that represents the diverse nature of Muslim women (in this case British Muslim Women) is important and why lack there of can disempower. The Things I Would Tell You, containing contributions from 22 British Muslim women, sets out to achieve ‘proper representation’ and it did so impressively, being a first of its kind. One need only look through the diverse style of writing, exceptional storytelling and even the ages of the contributors, to affirm this. As not all food in a buffet appeals to a person, not all contributions in the anthology resonated with me. As a matter of fact, I have a pattern of how I liked each contribution, based on genre; Drama > Short Stories > Essays > Poetry Yes, I liked the poems the least. I connected with only 2/3 poems, the rest felt abstract and ‘trying too hard’ or maybe it’s just my personal issue with poetry. The Insider by Leila Aboulela is the star player in this book. It maybe the storytelling or what the story represents (or both) but it really encapsulated the main theme of the book; re-writing mis(non)representation. Battleface by Sabrina Mahfouz is also gripping because in 20 pages, Mahfouz managed to create a pause for the more powerful side of the ‘conversation’ to sit back and contemplate the irony at play. Ahdaf Soueif’s Mezzaterra left me heartbroken especially after I googled “Abu Ghraib Prison” and Shaista Aziz’s Blood and Broken Bodies highlights the reality of Muslim women and honor killings in some parts of the world. I loved almost all the short stories but Hanan al-Shaykh’s An Eyes that Sees stole my heart and this statement; “ the eye is the gateway to the soul; the eye is insight; the eye is exploration. The ignorant are blind even if they see; the learned see even if they are blind “ will state with me for a long time! All in all, an amazing 3.75 stars and a worthy debut into this type of anthology. I hope to see more anthologies by Muslim women especially from the Middle East, Africa and Asia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Asim Qureshi

    This collection of essays, short stories and poems is very powerful and deserves a much longer review. I found the contributions to be compelling and in many cases harrowing. These are important points of view to reflect on. Perhaps one of the interesting things for me about a book by British Muslim women writing, is the lack of overt spirituality that is mentioned, there seems to be a much stronger emphasis on identity in all the contributions - which in itself is interesting. What is absolutel This collection of essays, short stories and poems is very powerful and deserves a much longer review. I found the contributions to be compelling and in many cases harrowing. These are important points of view to reflect on. Perhaps one of the interesting things for me about a book by British Muslim women writing, is the lack of overt spirituality that is mentioned, there seems to be a much stronger emphasis on identity in all the contributions - which in itself is interesting. What is absolutely clear, is that there are many exceptionally talented Muslim women writers out there whose prose and verse can touch deeply. While I might disagree with Sabrina Mahfouz's call for representation as a panacea to fear, hate and bigotry, these are voices that must be heard and engaged with, even if to disagree or challenge our own complacencies.

  24. 4 out of 5

    S.

    Enjoyed poems more than prose.. Stories of the mixed reality that all female authors were brought in... I think that the contributions were all navigating limits and borders, roots and wings, ... Of course, all of this creates a complex environment within which they need to make choices. The fact that it is relatable even to me -who have been born and raised in the same country as my ancestors- was that beyond the land, we struggle with defining our identities, picking carefully what to keep and Enjoyed poems more than prose.. Stories of the mixed reality that all female authors were brought in... I think that the contributions were all navigating limits and borders, roots and wings, ... Of course, all of this creates a complex environment within which they need to make choices. The fact that it is relatable even to me -who have been born and raised in the same country as my ancestors- was that beyond the land, we struggle with defining our identities, picking carefully what to keep and leaving discarded memories, cultural/regional customs... Life is all about composing your own personality and enriching it with whatever comes your way, out of your comfort zone ! I was expecting some visceral pieces, but only a few met my hopes !

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luna

    I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, wo I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, would be Islamic Tinder by Triska Hamid. On top of the quality of writing, I also enjoyed that there were different forms of writing present; short stories, poetry, and plays as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aya Prita

    I was looking for the book that talks about the identity of being a moslem woman and speaks to me about that (since I'm a moslem woman myself) and... Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf reads this so I joined. It took me few months to get this book but here I am. This book is amazing. Perhaps it's my ignorance to slowly absorbing the earlier pages with its sophisticated language. But started from the poetry entitled Home, to a Man, I'm sold. From there, the stories, poems, essays, plays are amazing. I was looking for the book that talks about the identity of being a moslem woman and speaks to me about that (since I'm a moslem woman myself) and... Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf reads this so I joined. It took me few months to get this book but here I am. This book is amazing. Perhaps it's my ignorance to slowly absorbing the earlier pages with its sophisticated language. But started from the poetry entitled Home, to a Man, I'm sold. From there, the stories, poems, essays, plays are amazing. Each writers have amazing writing style, quirky style that speaks to me about being a moslem woman, in any parts of the country.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    I mostly enjoyed the non-fiction pieces and some of the fiction short stories, especially Kamila Shamsie's The Girl Next Door and Hanan al-Shayhk's An Eye That Sees. The plays were also great. However, I really didn't enjoy reading the poetry (though I rarely do), and found a lot of the poems to be very vague or just sounding incomplete. I also didn't like the formatting, perhaps it would have been better to organise the writing according to genres. It was in a mixed order, and it was often hard I mostly enjoyed the non-fiction pieces and some of the fiction short stories, especially Kamila Shamsie's The Girl Next Door and Hanan al-Shayhk's An Eye That Sees. The plays were also great. However, I really didn't enjoy reading the poetry (though I rarely do), and found a lot of the poems to be very vague or just sounding incomplete. I also didn't like the formatting, perhaps it would have been better to organise the writing according to genres. It was in a mixed order, and it was often hard to transition from one to the other.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ಥ_ಥ

    My first DNF this year. I really tried. I usually like books selected by Our Shared Shelf but I wasn't liking anything. My first DNF this year. I really tried. I usually like books selected by Our Shared Shelf but I wasn't liking anything.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    A mixed bag and - sad to say - slightly disappointing for this reader. It promises so much more than it delivers. I’m all for giving new young writers a platform but in this case they somewhat dilute the quality of this collection. Some of the pieces could have been shorter, others I wanted to read more of. In a nutshell, great concept but would have benefited from a more critical and objective editor.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rana

    Beautiful collection of poems and short stories. I think there was only one story I didn’t particularly like but everything else was so well-written. Think it hit very close to home for me particularly as it was so refreshing for me to read about characters that were very relatable and understandable (not something I can always find as books don’t always include Muslim or Middle Eastern perspectives). Definite 5/5 for me.

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