The Things I Would Tell You

The Things I Would Tell You

British Muslim Women Write

Edited by

Introduction by Sabrina Mahfouz

9780863561467 April 2017 Paperback 256pp

About the Book

A Guardian Best Book of the Year 2017

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.

Contributors include: Kamila Shamsie, Ahdaf Soueif, Fadia Faqir, Leila Aboulela, Hanan al-Shaykh, Selma Dabbagh, Chiméne Suleyman, Nafeesa Hamid, Imtiaz Dharker, Shazea Quraishi, Aisha Mirza, Azra Tabassum, Triska Hamid, Asma Elbadawi, Shaista Aziz, Azra Tabassum, Aliyah Hasinah Holder, Hibaq Osman, Muneera Williams, Shireen Mula

About the Contributors

Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian playwright, poet and screenwriter. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the recipient of the 2018 King’s Alumni Arts and Culture Award, a Sky Arts Academy Award for Poetry and a Fringe First Award. Mahfouz is currently writing the biopic of legendary ‘Godfather of Grime’, Wiley, for Pulse Films. She is co-founder of the Critics of Colour Collective, which helps ensure fairer representation in UK arts criticism. Mahfouz is the editor of Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It Happen and The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, which was a Guardian Book of the Year and selected for Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf. Mahfouz has also published eight works of drama with Bloomsbury. She lives in London.


‘Important and timely’
Eimear McBride

‘Bursting with insight, humour and searing honesty. Essential reading’
Riz Ahmed

‘This exquisite collection is full of energy, experimentation, honesty, beauty, fury, heartbreak and laughs … Defiantly multicultural’
Nikesh Shukla

‘The first story I read moved me to tears, the poems made me up my game and the essays were a much needed education’
Hollie McNish , The Guardian, Best Book of the Year 2017

‘A lively, varied anthology…Strong, impassioned voices speak out from the pages.’
The Guardian

‘There is a strong sense of empowerment within these pages, empowerment of womanhood and individual identity...This anthology is strikingly relevant today. Not only that, it is one that is sorely needed…I recommend this book most highly.’
The Bookbag, 5* review

'Like last year's successful essay collection The Good Immigrant, The Things I Would Tell You gives a platform to people who don't find it easy to get published. Ranging from poetry to essays to short stories to a play, this collection showcases the variety of work British Muslim women are producing, touching on identity, belonging, religion, mental health, memory, love and more. My personal favourites include short stories Cutting Someone's Heart Out With a Spoon and Noor, by Chimene Suleyman and Kamila Shamsie respectively, and Imtiaz Dharker's poem The Right Word.'
Stylist Magazine, Best Books of April

’More necessary than ever...Exploring love, politics, violence, home, history, family, war, occupation, patriarchy, Brexit — this rich collection paints a vivid and complex picture of the lives, concerns, creativity and realities of Muslim women living in the UK today. The book is indeed important, and timely.’

‘Earnest, warm, fiery’
The National

'...a beautiful and haunting collection, with its evocative and sharp writing...The Things I Would Tell You provides a vital but fleeting glimpse into the lives of the unheard and is the perfect place to start for those looking to diversify their reading list.'
For Book’s Sake, 4* review

'Outstanding collection...The scope of the book is vast: in setting, style and experience. The facts, alternative perspectives, harsh realities and the breadth of geography within the collection doesn't just expose the extreme limitation of the depiction of British Muslims, it depicts and voices their multicultural, multifaceted identity.'
The List, 4* review

‘At times sensual, humorous, piercing and heartbreaking, The Things I Would Tell You is an absorbing read. It is also important, and never more relevant than now.’
The Skinny


The People's Book Prize 2018 (Longlisted)