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10 Books by Muslims, about Muslims, that are highly readable even if you're not Muslim

10 Books by Muslims, about Muslims, that are highly readable even if you're not Muslim

Cutural exchange

Text: Brent Taalur Ramsey


In these stories from today's most compelling Muslim voices, you may recognise yourself in the characters or become immersed in a new culture

For millions around the world, Ramadan is a festive time of fasting and special moments with family. Falling between 13 April and 12 May this year, the month-long celebration culminates with Eid al-Fitr on 13 May. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or simply want to read more about Muslim representation in literature, this list gathers 10 of our most-beloved must-reads, from essential novels by Muslim authors to our favourite Muslim-led stories.

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Set during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this heart-pounding literary debut by Hanna Alkaf follows a music-loving teen as she does everything she can to find her way back to her mother. Full of courage and grit, this story follows Melati as she works to overcome the violence on the streets and her own prejudices to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.

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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed

With an alternating narrative that spans centuries, this novel by New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed explores the lives of two young women–Leila and Khayyam–who fight to write their stories, forge their own paths and escape the pressures of familial burdens and cultural expectations in worlds defined by men.

Once Upon an Eid edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed

A collection of short stories, Once Upon an Eid brings together the most brilliant Muslim voices in a compilation all about Islam’s most joyful holiday of the year–Eid. This collection narrates the feelings and memories that all Muslim people may be familiar with–scents of delicious food, new outfits for Raya and holiday parties. This anthology is all about joy.

More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, this sweet and funny young adult rom-com debut is all about falling in love, familial expectations, and being a Renaissance Man. The story follows Danyal Jilani as he gets selected for a school-wide academic championship – the perfect opportunity to show everyone that he's smarter than they might think – and recruits the uninterested Bisma to help him with the contests. Soon, they both realise happiness might be right in front of them.

Love is an Ex-Country by Randa Jarrar

In this provocative memoir of a cross-country road trip, Randa Jarrar explores how to claim joy in an unravelling and hostile America—as a queer, Muslim Arab American. Jarrar provides a fearless voice as she shares profound recollections of a life lived with daring and perseverance.

The Mismatch by Sara Jafari

In The Mismatch by Sara Jafari, recent uni graduate Soraya Nazari thinks it's time for her to get some life experience she has been lacking due to her upbringing–and the rugby player Magnus Evans might just be the perfect way to get it. But, in this coming-of-age story, there might be much more to Magnus than meets the eye.

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

From the award-winning author of Alif the Unseen G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Set in 1491, in the Iberian Peninsula, The Bird King follow the duo’s journey to safety at a time when the West and the Muslim were not yet separate.

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My Past Is a Foreign Country by Zeba Talkhani

In My Past is a Foreign Country, Zeba Talkhani shares her experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia amid patriarchal customs that seem more like the making of The Handmaid's Tale, and her journey to find freedom abroad in India, Germany and the U.K. as a young woman and feminist Muslim. Her story offers a unique perspective on living as an outsider and rejecting what the traditional path her culture would have chosen for her.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

A tale about the sacrifices made for the ones we love, Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire follows a cast of characters who all have different interpretations of what it means to be British-Muslim as they live under the watchful eye of the Home Secretary. Powerful and thought-provoking, the fates of two families are intertwined in this timely novel.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

One of the most inspiring memoirs to come out in recent memory, I Am Malala catapulted Malala Yousafzai into world stage and, eventually, to becoming the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. After miraculously recovering from being shot by the Taliban in Pakistan, her story follows her continuous fight for her right to an education. An uplifting and poignant read for every list.

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Interested in reading more? Here are additional titles for your #TBR list:

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