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The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,085 ratings  ·  141 reviews
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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 3rd 2017 by Saqi Books
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Sean Barrs
What does it mean to be British and Muslim? This is a question these writers tackle with stunning clarity. Modern day British society has a varied sense of cultural heritage; it is a society that is changing and moving forward as it adds more and more voices to the population, but it is also one that has an undercurrent of anxiety and fear towards those who are minorities. So this collection displays how all that fear is received; it comes in the form of stereotypical labels and racial prejudice ...more
Such an important collection that centers the voices of British Muslim women. While I expected a series of nonfiction essays, The Things I Would Tell You contains short fiction, poetry, essays, and more. These women write with an unapologetic fierceness that both speaks to their experiences of marginalization while rising above and beyond it. Some of my favorite pieces included Chimene Suleyman’s “Us,” a short story that centers the imminent danger of stereotypes, Triska Hamid’s “Islamic Tinder, ...more
Yara Fathalla
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism
I really wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't what I expected to find. If a reader wants to get a glimpse of "British Muslim Women's" lives, this is not the book for you.

It's a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and a play, with varying themes, all written by "British Muslim women". I expected more pieces to be about the women's personal experiences, identities and challenges. Yet most pieces were present in the collection just because the authors are "British Muslim women", n
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!

I don’t read many anthologies but, as a British Muslim woman, I was really excited to read this one. This is a diverse collection of short stories, essays, plays and poetry from Muslim women across the UK.

Unlike most anthologies I’ve read, the pieces here aren’t connected by a single theme, but some of those that really stood out to me were written on the themes of identity, gender and cultural traditions. I
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I remember when I first came across news of this collection on twitter. It had yet to be published but a picture of it had been released and the title alone was enough to blow me away, 'The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write' - edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Just the title alone told me that this was granting British Muslim Women the agency, the voice that we need!

This collection features work by 22 British Muslim Women, ranging from successful, established writers such as Kamila S
Amal Bedhyefi
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite recently , Emma Watson chose this book for her feminist book club : Our Shared Shelf . Everyone was picking it up , and so did I ( thanks to Saqi Books & Elisabeth) .
The things I would tell you is an anthology edited by Sabrina Mahfouz , a British/Egyptian play/screen writer and a poet .
In other words , it is a collection of works ( short stories , plays , essays , poems ) written by british muslim women and It mainly examines a lot of different perceptions of what s being a muslim woman
Undleeb Red
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Worth it for Mahfouz's writing alone.
Sophia Ismaa
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book = why representation matters.

If you want a better and clearer picture of Muslim women AND men, read this book. If you’re really interested in understanding Muslim men and women, this book is for you. So many amazing stories, authors, poets, journalists and playwrights.

My favourite story is Kamila Shamsie’s ‘The Girl Next Door’, I was in a complete daze after reading her short story. It caused me to sincerely reflect. It starts off as an innocent gossiping tone taking place at a makeu
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Some contributions that are brilliant, hit-you-like-nothing-you've-read-pieces.

Others so-so.

An unusual read
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
A handful of good pieces, the best being the editor's Battleface. There's quite a lot of artsy-fartsy writing in the anthology, and oftentimes I found myself thinking, I have no idea what I've just read. Perhaps it'd help if you're more familiar with the culture?
As the book is a cluster of different works, I'd rather not rate it (but if I had to I'd give it 2,5 stars as an average). The reason I picked this book is because I was interested in a viewpoint which is different from mine, mainly in terms of the religious aspect of life, and as a whole I was not disappointed. There were several works which I quite liked, in no particular order:
'The Girl Next Door' by Kamila Shamise;
'Blood and Broken Bodies' by Shaista Aziz - about so called 'honour killings',
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading The Things I Would Tell You was like coming home and knowing that you're safe. That you're understood. Finally. A collection of stories, plays, poetry and commentaries, British women of colour lay their voice on the frustrating and tiresome image of the 'Muslim woman'. From Islamic Tinder to a grandmother who was a former prostitute, I loved that the book included literary heavy weights like Leila Aboulela as well as first time published Nafeesa Hamid and a 14 year old student from a loc ...more
This impressive collection of work by contemporary British Muslim women is not only timely and important, but it crucially pops the bubble of the notion of the The British Muslim. The texts range a cross genre – fiction, journalism, poetry, commentary and more – and across modes – of critique, of anger, of despair, of the erotic, of the meditative, of location and dislocation – to challenge readers and dominant voices about Muslimah to think and reflect on complexity, difference, diversity and d ...more
Rose  Heartfilia
What I liked most about it (and like feels like such a bad word) were the poems. There were a lot of stories that I found interesting, if not all of them and it gave me another eye-opener on the road that I am now taking with the last books I read.

The resembles with one of the chapters to the book of Why I am no longer talking to white people about race, did not surprise me and yet it did. The effect that Brexit had on the racists feeling of some people in England. It is a shame, more I can't s
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book because Emma Watson told me to (via Our Shared Shelf). My first impression was that I probably didn't understand as much of it, especially the poetry, in no small part because I don't have as much cultural knowledge. And that's okay. I liked being confronted by that. There's a good mix of fiction/non-fiction. Poetry vs prose. British locale vs foreign locale. The role of religion was varied throughout as well. By that I mean for the majority of the stories, faith/religion are cr ...more
Talitha Cunio
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, poetry
I really enjoyed The Girl Next Door, Islamic Tinder, Over my Dead Body, Stand by me (probably my favorite), Staying Alive, Take Me There, Last Assignment, Belongings, and My Other Half. Some of the other writings did not resonate with me. And it was difficult to switch from one genre to the next. But I am grateful to have been introduced to these diverse authors and I'll keep a lookout for longer works from my favorite ones.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fantastic scope of voices through poetry, fiction, non fiction and plays. The writings took me across the globe but I recognised each of them among my friends, neighbours, colleagues and family (Muslim and non-Muslim alike). Read it and open your eyes!
Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl)
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
For me, the jingle with the power to make or mar an anthology, is the introduction and in The Things I Would Tell You, Sabrina Mahfouz used the introduction to walk us through why an anthology that represents the diverse nature of Muslim women (in this case British Muslim Women) is important and why lack there of can disempower.
The Things I Would Tell You, containing contributions from 22 British Muslim women, sets out to achieve ‘proper representation’ and it did so impressively, being a first
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Perhaps most of my problems with this book stem from my own expectations. The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write is not, as I thought, a collection of personal accounts or essays on what it's like to be a Muslim woman in Britain. Instead it's an anthology of (mostly) fiction and poetry written by British Muslim women. Immediately it didn't turn out to be what I'd expected and looked forward to reading about, and maybe that soured my reading experience a little.

But then, on the o
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book I picked up first and foremost because I wanted to support its cause. Giving a voice to British Muslim women, but also showcasing a wide array of British Muslim voices, is alone well worth the price of it. So I didn't even look inside before I bought it - and then ended up reading all but the last two stories in a little less than a day (the last two I savoured over breakfast during the first two days of the new week). This slim volume is teeming with compelling voices that range ...more
Asim Qureshi
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: resistance
This collection of essays, short stories and poems is very powerful and deserves a much longer review. I found the contributions to be compelling and in many cases harrowing. These are important points of view to reflect on. Perhaps one of the interesting things for me about a book by British Muslim women writing, is the lack of overt spirituality that is mentioned, there seems to be a much stronger emphasis on identity in all the contributions - which in itself is interesting.

What is absolutel
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: englit
Enjoyed poems more than prose.. Stories of the mixed reality that all female authors were brought in... I think that the contributions were all navigating limits and borders, roots and wings, ... Of course, all of this creates a complex environment within which they need to make choices.
The fact that it is relatable even to me -who have been born and raised in the same country as my ancestors- was that beyond the land, we struggle with defining our identities, picking carefully what to keep and
Luna Bookish
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, short-stories
I really enjoyed the wide array of perspectives that were present in this book. Not did the editor bring together a wonderful collection of writings, the writings were created by an assortment of women of different ages as well. I felt like that created a very interesting dynamic in the writing, but also illustrated that deep feelings can be felt at any age. I felt passion and many deep emotions while reading this book. All the writers are very talented. I think my favorite, if I had to pick, wo ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I mostly enjoyed the non-fiction pieces and some of the fiction short stories, especially Kamila Shamsie's The Girl Next Door and Hanan al-Shayhk's An Eye That Sees. The plays were also great. However, I really didn't enjoy reading the poetry (though I rarely do), and found a lot of the poems to be very vague or just sounding incomplete. I also didn't like the formatting, perhaps it would have been better to organise the writing according to genres. It was in a mixed order, and it was often hard ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
My first DNF this year. I really tried. I usually like books selected by Our Shared Shelf but I wasn't liking anything.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
A mixed bag and - sad to say - slightly disappointing for this reader. It promises so much more than it delivers. I’m all for giving new young writers a platform but in this case they somewhat dilute the quality of this collection. Some of the pieces could have been shorter, others I wanted to read more of. In a nutshell, great concept but would have benefited from a more critical and objective editor.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful collection of poems and short stories. I think there was only one story I didn’t particularly like but everything else was so well-written. Think it hit very close to home for me particularly as it was so refreshing for me to read about characters that were very relatable and understandable (not something I can always find as books don’t always include Muslim or Middle Eastern perspectives). Definite 5/5 for me.
A mixed bag with a couple of gems inside. Some of the stories were somewhat confusing to me; and I struggled to understand the context and meaning. The novel 'Under the Cypress Tree' was very beautiful and almost brought tears to my eyes. 'The Girl Next Door's was comedy at it's best, and I was moved by several of the poems.
Elyssa Gooding
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving and Diverse

The writing in this collection shows that women’s experiences, specifically Muslim women, are not a monolith. We all have these human experiences and deserve to be heard in our own voices. The essays, fiction, poetry, and dramas shared here give a glimpse of those voices.
Caroline Harden
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A really important and note worthy book, that's so relevant to our current society. I was struck by Ahdaf Soueif's essay, and it was really interesting to have a greater exposure to the complexities and challenges a Muslim (although it might be dual) identity brings.
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