The just released book, Love InshAllah is fast becoming a hit. A surprising and eye-opening look at the real love lives of Muslim American women, Love InshAllah is breaking stereotypes and igniting conversation. Silent for so long, the voices of American Muslim women now emerge as thoughtful, passionate, intelligent and desirous of love.
Ayesha Mattu, co-author of “Love InshAllah” tells Republic of Brown how the book came to be.
One day about five years ago, my friend Nura & I were chatting at a cafe in San Francisco. She’d seen a rom-com the night before and wondered what the ‘Muslim twist’ on that might be, and I’d read yet another news article on South Asian matchmakers, which had little to do with my own or my Muslim girlfriends’ love lives.
Instead of waiting for someone else to tell those other stories, we thought it was about time we took matters into our own hands and started telling our own stories. We issued two national calls for love stories (one in 2008 & one in 2011) and received hundreds of responses from all over the nation (and interest from women as far away as India, Australia and Nigeria!).
We got an agent who shopped the proposal to larger publishing houses who were loath to take a risk on unknown writers and an untested market. After that, our agent dumped us. It wasn’t until we won the contest at LitQuake’s Pitchapalooza (where you have one minute to pitch your story in front of a live audience and a panel of industry experts) in Sept 2010 that things started coming together again. We were picked up by Soft Skull Press, an independent, cutting-edge publishing house in Berkeley, and the book will be out on Valentine’s Day!
We chose 25 women from various ethnicities, races and levels of religious practice to showcase just how diverse the American Muslim community is. These brave and inspiring women are breaking the silence by speaking openly for the first time about love, relationships, sexuality, gender, identity, homophobia, and racism.
It’s been an incredible journey over the past 5 years to publication. But, in many ways the real journey is just beginning as we share these unique, provocative and moving stories with each of you.
Read more on Love InshAllah and meet the contributors at www.loveinshallah.com
Listen to co-author, Nura Maznavi’s interview on the BBC World Update.
Buy the book here