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Reflections on Keepers of the Faith by Sumaiya Hamdani May 14, 2020 – Posted in: Thoughts, Uncategorised

Sumaiya Hamdani, an Associate Professor of History at George Mason University, comes from a long line of Islamic scholars and academics from the Hamdani family. From their origins in Yemen they have over the generations made important contributions to Ismaili thought and literature. Sumaiya’s father, the late Abbas Hamdani, was a scholar of Ismaili history and in particular of a volume of the philosophical work the Rasa’il-e-Ikhwan al-Safa(Epistles of Brethren of Purity). The Hamdani family had…

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What We’re Reading May 8, 2020 – Posted in: Inspiration, Thoughts

There’s no doubt that this pandemic has either broken your reading stride, or encouraged you to read more than ever before. Here’s what us here at Mawenzi House have been reading lately. See anything you’d want to read? Nurjehan Aziz, Publisher The lockdown due to Covid-19 has afforded me a chance to catch up on reading books that have long sat on my bookshelf, a collection that I would look at everyday and shake my…

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Keepers of the Faith by Shaukat Ajmeri April 11, 2020 – Posted in: Excerpt

Keepers of the Faith is set within a small Muslim sect of India, ruled by an avaricious priesthood that demands absolute submission while enforcing archaic social customs. When a section of the community rebels, it is summarily excommunicated, shunned by friends and family and denied religious rites. The peaceful community is split into two. The novel follows the fates of two blissful young lovers, Akbar and Rukhsana, in the historic city of Udaipur. When the communal…

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Lien Chao’s Salt in My Life Reading April 7, 2020 – Posted in: Guest Post

Lien Chao’s latest collection contains seven chapters of bilingual poetry created in the past decade, covering a wide terrain of subjects, art forms, and poetic styles, including a reflective travelogue, lyrics inspired by situations, concise vocal lyrics for symphony orchestra, and finally, a multimedia-poetic stage production. By challenging the genre of poetry and its terrain, this new collection continues to build a cultural bridge across the boundaries between two totally different languages. In the audio readings…

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Q&A With Shaukat Ajmeri March 25, 2020 – Posted in: Uncategorised

Shaukat Ajmeri is the author of Keepers of the Faith. This is his debut novel, due to be published in April. We asked him a few questions about the novel and some of the challenges he faced in writing it. Was there any special research required for Keepers of the Faith? Not a lot, but I had to read up on Islamic history and philosophy especially pertaining to the various Ismaili communities. Farhad Daftary’s tome The Ismailis…

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Black History Month 2020 Highlight: Part 3 February 20, 2020 – Posted in: Author Highlight, Black History Month

You might recognize The Youth of God by Hassan Ghedi Santur from Canada Reads Longlist! In its telling, this novel reveals the alienated lives of Somali youth in an environment riddled with crime and unemployment, while still in the grip of bitter memories of a home left behind. Hassan emigrated from Somalia to Canada at age thirteen. He has a BA in English Literature and an MFA from York University, and an MA from Columbia…

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Black History Month 2020 Highlight: Part 2 February 11, 2020 – Posted in: Author Highlight, Black History Month

Nur Abdi’s debut novel, The Somali Camel Boy, tells the story of Ali who is a simple but self-willed camel boy arrested by the Duki clan. He later escapes for Toronto, where he dreams of revenge on his father’s death.  Nur grew up in the territory now known as Somaliland. In the 1980s, when a civil war was raging in Somalia, he sought refuge in Canada and became a citizen in 1994. Opposing the repressive…

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Black History Month 2020 Highlight: Part 1 February 3, 2020 – Posted in: Author Highlight, Black History Month

Kagiso Lesego Molope just recently won the Ottawa Book Award (English Fiction) for her YA release of This Book Betrays My Brother, which was originally published in South Africa …where it won the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize by the English Academy of Southern Africa! For her latest novel, Such a Lonely, Lovely Road, which is a story about two men coming out in South Africa, she became the inaugural winner of the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award…

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Happy Lunar New Year! January 25, 2020 – Posted in: Blog, Inspiration

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!  Last year, we celebrated some of our authors who were born in the Year of the Pig, and this year, we have no one from the Year of the Rat! What we did find out though, were the lucky colours for whoever will be celebrating the Rat, and we compiled a list of some blue, green and gold books for you! Fun fact: one of the lucky numbers for rats…

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“The Youth of God” by Hassan Ghedi Santur on Canada Reads Longlist! January 10, 2020 – Posted in: Award Nominations/Wins, Giveaway

In case you haven’t heard, Hassan Ghedi Santur’s novel, The Youth of God, is on the longlist for Canada Reads!  The Youth of God tells the story of Nuur, a sensitive and academically gifted seventeen-year-old boy growing up in Toronto’s Somali neighbourhood, as he negotiates perilously between the calling of his faith and his intellectual ambitions. Trying to influence him are a radical Muslim imam and a book-loving, dedicated teacher who shares his background. In…

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