*Guest Post* Ayisha Malik

Today I am really excited to have a brand new author on the blog, Ayisha Malik. Ayish Malik's debut novel "Sofia Khan is Not Obliged" is an outstanding and funny read that I highly recommend and my review will be up within the next few days.  Sofia Khan is Not Obliged is  also the first title in a brand new imprint from Bonnier, called Twenty7, which only publishes work by debut novelist, first in ebook and later in paperback.

For many, I think, being a writer is something they’ve always wanted to do because they’ve been reading and writing from a young age – I’m firmly in that boat. It was always my passion. It’s a kind of warped compulsion, where you love and hate putting pen to paper (or tapping at that keyboard) in equal measure. A healthy relationship, I’d say. For me, writing is a weird unravelling of my feelings and thoughts that are then stitched together with words, phrases and sentences, which help to create a sense of truth and understanding. I became an author because I’m addicted to that process. 

Sofia Khan is not Obliged is the product of many failed attempts at completing a novel. Some people talk about inspiration as if it’s this mythical thing and that it’s the hard graft that really makes you a writer. I very much agree with this, but I also think that the spark you get when an idea takes hold not only brings you those highs but also drives you through the lows. My main character, Sofia Khan, is that inspiration. She is a single, Muslim, hijabi Londoner and the central voice for my novel. It’s all her characteristics (the good and the not-so-good) that kept me going. Writing her was sheer entertainment. After all, if your writing doesn’t entertain you then you can be sure it won’t entertain your reader (although that’s not to say your reader will be entertained, but at least you’ve amused yourself for a while). 

Writing a novel is, I think, a verbal form of stamping your own feet for attention. I felt like the media had hijacked Muslim identity and vilified it, so I wanted to touch upon that in my writing, along with the way Asian families hijack our lives with the constant question: when will you get married? Creating a character like Sofia wasn’t just fun but explores that very common feeling of being stuck in the middle – in a constant flurry of having to explain why you wear a scarf, or why you don’t want to marry your auntie’s friend’s brother’s son when he’s such a nice boy – and a doctor too! 
But I hope many people can identify with Sofia’s feelings and problems – they are universal because, at the end of it, they are human problems. (Although not everyone will know what it’s like to have to find a place to pray in the middle of a book launch. Obviously.) 


Title: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged
Series: N/A
Published: 3rd Sept 2015 (Ebook)
Publisher: Twenty7 
Genre: Romantic Comedy

 Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?'

Unlucky in love once again after her sort-of-boyfriend/possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she seeks stories for her book. But in amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and polygamy-inclined friends, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?

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