A successful Twitter campaign designed to highlight the demand for and need of books that feature Muslim characters, written by Muslim authors, has been taking place throughout January. Sajidah K. Ali, an author herself, has launched the campaign using #MuslimShelfSpace to enable people to tweet pictures of ‘own voice’ Muslim books on their bookshelves.
All in all, there were over a hundred #MuslimShelfSpace pics since we began showing our commitment to choosing to buy #ownvoices in 2017! pic.twitter.com/VJH3JzjqxM
— S. K. Ali (@SajidahWrites) January 15, 2017
As the new year is a key time for people to be looking for new reads, Ali hopes that the spotlight on Muslim authors will bring a variety of literary suggestions to the people that need them. When interviewed on the subject, Ali referred to her own youth, and how it felt to find that the books available about Muslims were often written by those outside of the community:
“As a teen you are struggling to figure out who you are and when I read it I felt horrible. It was really pity literature.”
Ali, who lives in Canada, is now a key figure in promoting important “own voice” stories as a result of her own first hand experiences with restricted reading choices.
love ❤️ this idea #MuslimShelfSpace @SajidahWrites pic.twitter.com/jNKmhsRNcL
— Sana Tauqeer (@basilibasili) January 8, 2017
Through this innovative idea, Ali not only hopes to show people the range of Muslim books available, but also to show publishers that there is a demand for diversity in fiction today, something that she describes as a prominent issue in the literary world.
In an exclusive interview with NBC, Ali stated that “marginalized authors often hear that [diverse books don’t sell as well] and now with the diverse book movements, publishers have woken up to that fact that it does sell.”
Ali’s own debut novel, Saints and Misfits will add to the pool of books by Muslim authors to choose from, and has already been highlighted by Entertainment Weekly as one of the significant YA novels to look out for in 2017. The book will be released in June this year, and is available for pre-order now.
Go on and take a look at #MuslimShelfSpace and see what new books and authors you could discover!
YouTube Channel: Layla Abdullah-Poulos
Featured image via Twitter