Hay Festival Programme Announced

Join Sabrina Mahfouz, Aliyah Hasinah Holder and Samira Shackle at Hay Festival this June

Event 415 • Saturday 3 June 2017, 10am • Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage

Mahfouz introduces her vibrant anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write with two of her star contributors. 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 playing a ghostbuster spiral into repeat castings as a jihadi bride. Among stories of honour killings and ill-fated love in besieged locations, we also find heart-warming connections and powerful challenges to the status quo.

AWAN Festival March 2017

On March 11 Saqi author Sabrina Mahfouz will be taking part in a Q&A session at Rich Mix. Sabrina, editor of The Things I Would Tell You, will be in conversation as part of the Arab Women Artists Now festival that runs until March 19. AWAN, in its third year, is a dynamic and engaging showcase that celebrates Arab women artists from UK, Europe and beyond. Sabrina will be on stage at 18.30, the final session of a day filled with artist talks, documentary film screenings, spokenword poetry and video-art performance as AWAN take over the building from 11.30. Tickets cost £5 for the day and can be purchased here.

BBC Arabic Festival

On March 24 Saqi will be selling books at the BBC Arabic Festival’s opening day pop-up market. We will be at the Broadcasting House World Piazza alongside food stalls producing flavours from across the Arab World and the electrifying Syrian music duo Khaled Kurbeh and Raman Khalaf. The festival runs until March 30 and sees international filmmakers celebrating the Arab world. All events are free and include a diverse range of film screenings, Q&As, panel discussions and other special events. It promises to be a vibrant celebration of Arabic culture and we hope to see you there!

SOAS Centenary Event – Celebrating Palestinian Culture & Community in London

To celebrate their centenary SOAS will be hosting a day of food, music and comedy with accompanying lectures and film screenings concerning Palestinian culture on Saturday 25 February. Saqi will be there between 11.30am and 6.30pm selling a selection of titles with a Palestine focus. We look forwards to seeing you. For more details, visit the SOAS website.

Sara Khan and Tony McMahon in Conversation: The Battle for British Islam

Across Britain, Muslims are caught up in a battle over the very nature of their faith; and extremists appear to be gaining the upper hand. Join Sara Khan and Tony McMahon in conversation as they reveal why this is happening and what we, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, can do about it.

Waterstones Birmingham, 20 January 18:30 – see the Waterstones website for more info

Blackwell’s at the University of Bradford, 25 January 18:30 – see Eventbrite for more info

Sara Khan has spent the past decade campaigning for tolerance and equal rights within Muslim communities, and is now engaged in a new struggle for justice and understanding the urgent need to counter Islamist-inspired extremism.

Unafraid to tackle some of the pressing issues of our time, Sara Khan addresses the question of how to break the cycle of extremism without alienating British Muslims. She calls for all Britons to reject divisive ideologies and introduces us to those individuals who are striving to build a safer future.

‘This is an important book full of compelling, disturbing and inspirational material, required reading to understand what is happening in our midst and what we can do about it.’ Sunday Times

Listen to Sara Khan on BBC Radio 4, Start the Week as she discusses what Islam means in the modern world.

An evening with Burhan Sönmez and Elif Shafak

Waterstones Piccadilly, Tuesday 22 November, 7pm

Following an attempted coup, there has been an intensified crackdown on freedom of expression and the free press in Turkey. Many prominent journalists, academics and novelists have been prosecuted and arrested, with some forced into exile.

Amid political volatility, Turkish literature is key to understanding the country’s past, present and future. Join us for an evening of lively discussion about the role of language and literature in times of uncertainty with Turkish writer and campaigner Burhan Sönmez and award-winning novelist Elif Shafak.

The event will mark the publication of Sönmez’s Istanbul Istanbul (trans. Umit Hussein) – a deeply moving novel about the power of storytelling and the relationship between pain and the human imagination. The event will be chaired by Rosie Goldsmith.

This event is free but please RSVP in store, by telephone 020 7851 2400 or by email piccadilly@waterstones.com


Burhan Sönmez, who grew up in Anatolia and is of Kurdish origin, is an internationally prize-winning novelist whose works have been translated into over twenty languages. A former human rights lawyer, Sönmez founded the social-activist cultural organisation TAKSAV (Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art) and has written on literature, culture and politics for various newspapers and magazines. He was seriously injured following an assault by Turkish police in 1996 and had to receive treatment in Britain, where he remained in exile for several years. He now lectures at METU University in Ankara and lives in Istanbul.

Elif Shafak is the award-winning author of ten novels including The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. The most widely read female writer in Turkey, she is also a political commentator and an inspirational public speaker. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages and she has been featured in major publications including the Financial Times, Guardian and Time magazine. Elif has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Award, and shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. She lives in London.

Rosie Goldsmith is an award-winning journalist specialising in arts and current affairs. In 20 years at the BBC she travelled the world, covering events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa, presenting flagship BBC programmes Front Row and Crossing Continents. Rosie has chaired European Literature Night at the British Library ever since it began in 2009 and runs the European Literature Network.