Love in a Headscarf launches in India and climbs to number 4 (update: now at number 2)
Love in a Headscarf was launched in India at the end of July as the first title of the new imprint Amaryllis, which is part of Manjul Publishing. They came up with this snazzy cover, which was designed to be vibrant and modern to appeal to the competitive Indian market, and stand out from the usual crowd of memoir.
Sanjana Roy Choudhury, Head of Publishing, Amaryllis, said that ”We plumped for Shelina Zahra Janmohamed’s Love in a Headscarf for our launch, to make people sit up and take notice. There were a few typical literary titles we could’ve launched with, but this was special. It’s a light but sensitive portrayal of the modern British-Muslim woman” .
After less than four weeks in the market, the book is already at number 4 in the bestseller list!
The book has garnered some great coverage. Elizabeth Kuruvilla wrote a feature in Open Magazine talking about “Revolutions in a Headscarf”. And I was in conversation with Nawaid Anjum of the Asian Age who went on to write about “A Muslim Woman’s Quest.”
And AllAboutBookPublishing, (a bi-monthly trade journal exclusively dedicated to book publishing industry in India) in an article entitled ‘The act of writing is very courageous’ called the book ‘unputdownable’ (shelina says: what a great word).
Mid Day ran an interesting feature on ‘Writing from behind the veil‘ asking “why Islamic writing in English, especially by women, is piquing reader interest” looking at the journey to getting Love in Headscarf published, and other books that are sharing a diversity of Muslim women’s stories.
For those of you following the international editions of Love in a Headscarf, the next one will hopefully be released in the USA in the Autumn.
Postscript [31/8/10]: This lovely review from DNAIndia.com (Daily News and Analysis) begins: “ Scarves were once about fashion. Today they’re all about politics. The headscarf is fiercely contested territory with diametrically opposite meanings ranging from ‘oppressive’ to ‘liberating’ depending on who is standing on the soapbox. Which is why Shelina Zahra Janmohamed’s chick-lit cum memoir, Love In A Headscarf is more provocative at second glance.” and then… “Its wholesome worldview cuts through the hullabaloo around the hijab issue by presenting the simple testimony of one woman’s faith in modern Britain.”
Postscript [14/9/10]: The book has climbed to number 2 in the Bestseller list. And a number of other publications have carried news and reviews. The Wall Street Journal’s India blog writes that “Love in a Headscarf wows India“.
Women’s Web calls it “an anabashed tribute to Jane Austen”
The Hindustan Times says the book gets it “spot on” when it comes to how women feel.
The Times of India (linked here to the mobile site, couldn’t find the main one) says the book has a “delightfully engaging style” and even calls parts of it a “scream”.
The Hindustan Times reviews the book again (I guess they liked it?) with the headline in the paper itself: “A rollicking ‘love’ story of a Muslim woman who does not believe in playing by the rules.” The review concludes: “Spunky author, important book, and a good read.”
The Deccan Chronicle in an article called “Shakti ‘swa’roopas” (formidable unflinching women) nominates 9 women who exhibit this spirit, and lists me and Love in a Headscarf as one of these 9 under “humour” saying: “This author has questioned the double standards in religion with her trademark humour. [She] found liberation through her successful blog Spirit 21. Lacing her provocative questions on gender imbalance in society with humour, she has entered a shark infested bastion with a weapon called wit. ” I’m in high profile company with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Fatima Bhutto.
The reviews keep coming in. Here’s one from The Organiser(which says it was set up in 1947 and that it is widely quoted in the Indian Parliament and read in 54 countries) that describes the book as ‘light-hearted’ with ‘a hilarious twist giving an insight into what it means to be a young British Muslim woman.’