Sara Khan at Waterstones

Across Britain, Muslims are caught up in a battle over the very nature of their faith; with media focus often on extremists. 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 to counter Islamist-inspired terrorism.

Join Sara Khan and counter-radicalization consultant Tony McMahon in conversation with Nick Cohen (author, political commentator and columnist for The Observer) this evening as they reveal why this is happening and what we, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, can do about it.

This event is free but please reserve your place in store, by telephone 020 7851 2400 or by email

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016

Edinburgh International Book Festival is just around the corner, and we are thrilled to see some of our own authors in attendance. The full programme (of over 800 authors!) can be browsed on the EIBF16 website here, but tickets and information about Saqi events below.

Wed 17 Aug 10:15am – 11:15am The Spiegeltent £12.00, £10.00

Meet two of Europe’s most talented novelists. Icelandic novelist Sjón (author of The Whispering Muse, From the Mouth of the Whale and The Blue Fox) discussed his highly anticipated new novel Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was (Sceptre) about a young gay man’s experience in 1918 Iceland. Swedish writer Steve Sem-Sandberg’s The Chosen Ones follows his towering novel The Emperor of Lies in describing brutality and tenderness in the Nazi era – this time in a home for sick children in Vienna. Tickets.

Sun 28 Aug 12:30pm – 1:30pm Garden Theatre £12.00, £10.00

Tahar Ben Jelloun, Morocco’s greatest living author, presents a compelling novelisation of his mother’s life, newly translated into English. About My Mother beautifully and tenderly tells the story of her descent into dementia. Meanwhile, Irenosen Okojie’s Butterfly Fish is an astonishingly assured debut novel about a mother whose death leaves a striking legacy and a route into the history of Nigeria and ancient Benin. Tickets.

Sun 28 Aug 6:45pm – 7:45pm Baillie Gifford Main Theatre £12.00, £10.00
Sponsored by University of Edinburgh

Human rights campaigner and one of Woman’s Hour Top Ten Influencers of 2015, Sara Khan has spent two decades fighting for tolerance and equal rights within Muslim communities. In The Battle for British Islam, she writes of the young men and women who have been radicalised and talks today about how the cycle of extremism can be broken without further alienating UK Muslims. Tickets.

Tahar Ben Jelloun to visit UK

We are delighted to welcome award-winning novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun to the UK this summer to mark the publication of About My Mother.

Edinburgh International Book Festival: The Mother of all Stories
Sunday 28 Aug 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Garden Theatre

Tahar Ben Jelloun will present his book About my Mother, translated by Ros Schwartz and Lulu Norman. This sweeping and evocative portrait of a mother and her son explores themes of love, loss, family and illness, as well as the reliability of memory and the subjugation of women. He will be in discussion with Irenosen Okojie, author of Butterfly Fish, an astonishingly assured debut novel about a mother whose death leaves a striking legacy and a route into the history of Nigeria and ancient Benin. More info here.

Café Littéraire: TAHAR BEN JELLOUN
Sunday 28 August 18:00 – 19:00, Institut francais d’Ecosse

In partnership with our team, the Institut Français d’Ecosse will present during the Fringe Festival a series of informal and open discussions with four French authors.who will talk about their work. Tahar Ben Jelloun will be one of them! To attend one of these Cafés Littéraires, call this number: 0131 225 5366. It’s free, but booking is essential. More info here.

About the Author
Tahar Ben Jelloun was born in Fez, Morocco in 1944, and emigrated to France in 1971. He is an award-winning and internationally bestselling novelist, essayist, critic and poet. He won the Prix Maghreb, the Prix Goncourt (the first North African to win France’s top literary prize), and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He is regularly shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and his work has been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He received the rank of Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2008.

Bare Lit Festival 26-28 February 2016

Bare Lit is a brand new literary festival organised by Media Diversified, a non-profit organisation that cultivates and promotes talented writers of colour. The festival focuses solely on BAME writers in order to highlight the incredible contribution they are making to literature, and to challenge the poor representation that writers of colour have traditionally had at the UK’s largest literary festivals.

Saqi is extremely proud that two of our authors will be participating in Bare Lit’s programme:

Dean Atta, author of I Am Nobody’s Nigger, will be appearing in a panel on second generation poets in exile, alongside fellow poets Jane Yeh, Selina Nwulu and Khairani Barokka.

Courttia Newland, author of The Gospel According to Cane, will give the Royal Literary Fund Lecture, in which he grants the audience access into his manifesto of exploring fictional voice and celebrating self-expression in the work of British writers of colour.


Dean Atta is a writer and performance poet. He has been commissioned to write poems for the Damilola Taylor Trust, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Atta won the 2012 London Poetry Award and was named as one of the most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday Pink List 2012. An ambassador for the Spirit of London Awards, he lives in London and teaches writing workshops across the UK.

Courttia Newland is novelist, playwright and screenwriter. He has published 7 novels, amongst which the acclaimed works SnakeskinThe Dying Wish and The Scholar. He is the co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain and The Global Village (with Monique Roffey). Newland was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Alfred Fagon Award and the Frank O’ Connor Award. He lives in London.


Panel: Second Generation Poets in Exile

Saturday 27 February at 3.30pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3GA

Tickets: £8


Royal Literary Fund Lecture

Sunday 28 February at 5pm

Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3GA

Tickets: £8

Abdel Bari Atwan at the Mosaic Rooms

Join us for a special launch of the new paperback edition of Abdel Bari Atwan’s latest book, Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, at the Mosaic Rooms on Thursday 12 November, 7pm.

Based on exclusive interviews with Islamic State insiders, Abdel Bari Atwan reveals the origins and modus operandi of the fastest-growing and richest terrorist group in the world. Outlining its leadership structure and strategies, Atwan shows how the group has masterfully used social media, Hollywood ‘blockbuster’-style videos, and even jihadi computer games to spread its message and to recruit young people – from Tunisia to Bradford.

As Islamic State continues to dominate the world’s media headlines with acts of ruthless violence, Atwan considers its chances of survival and offers indispensable insight into potential government responses to contain the IS threat.

The author will be in conversation with Professor Nabil Ayad, directer of the Academy of Diplomacy and Internal Governance in London.

Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian writer and journalist. The former editor-in-chief of al-Quds al-Arabi for twenty-five years, he now edits the Rai al-Youm news website – the Arab world’s first Huffington Post-style outlet. Atwan interviewed Osama bin Laden twice in the late 1990s and has cultivated uniquely well-placed sources from within the various branches of al-Qa‘ida and other jihadi groups, including IS, over the last twenty years. His other books include The Secret History of al-Qa’ida and After bin Laden: al-Qa’ida, the Next Generation, and a memoir, A Country of Words: A Palestinian Journey from the Refugee Camp to the Front Page.


John McHugo at Waterstones Piccadilly

Waterstone’s Piccadilly and Saqi Books are delighted to invite you to 

Syria – at the crossroads of History with Diana Darke and John McHugo

Wednesday 22 October 2014, 7pm

Waterstone’s Piccadilly

203-206 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HD

Whether as Syrian citizens or international witnesses, how do we imagine the future of Syria? Rooted in a turbulent history and struggling with a troubled present, Syria stands at the crossroads.

In this evening’s talk, John McHugo, author of Syria: From the Great War to Civil War and Diana Darke, author of My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution combine forces to offer an insight into Syria past, present and future.

This event is free but please reserve your place by email: