This post was originally published in Open Thought Vortex magazine, a wonderful place for discovering new writing. Traditions can be the smallest things. The Spanish wearing red underwear at Christmas. A football team supported by generations of a family. Your grandmother’s curry recipe. Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. Bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night. Carving pumpkins. […]

The baby didn’t sleep last night. His need for me is wearing. I stand in the hallway, exhausted, listening to him whimper in his cot after I place him there. I cup my hands in prayer. The shape they make is at first alien, a relic from childhood rituals when our family attended the mosque […]

I know it’s not always the best idea to be political on blogs. Why alienate your readership? Even so, I’m going to break that rule. That’s because today, I found politics not to be divisive, but to be hopeful. Today, I went canvassing. Our older two children stayed with my husband. It was me and […]

I’m a language purist at heart. You know the type. I know I’m not alone. How many of you insist on writing out words in full, even when you are texting? I like seeing every letter painfully spelt out. It brings me joy, masochist that I am. Not for me, the LOLs, TIAs, BTWs and […]

Happy new year, readers. I hope the coming year finds you healthy and hopeful, that you uncover pockets of laughter, reach into your potential and fill the spaces of emptiness that sometimes haunt us all. I’m late with my well wishes, I know. I have an excuse though. Littlest Stelter was born a month ago, […]

‘Has the world always been broken?’ asked the girl, eyes laden with sorrow Her grandfather knotted his fingers together, paper-thin skin over cobweb veins and considered which truth to convey Should he comfort her as he longed to do, until her heart had no knowledge of hate or unfold to her the wisdoms he had […]

Some of the oldest stories that exist centre around curiosity, and what happens when our thirst for knowledge is indulged. Take the story of Eve taking fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Or Pandora unable to resist opening her box and allowing the world’s evils to escape. Or fairytales such […]

I try to keep politics off this blog. That’s the common advice, isn’t it? Not to alienate potential readers by being overtly political. It’s like bringing politics up at dinner parties or with family. There’s something unsavoury about it. Rarely does consensus come out of political conversations unless you are talking to like-minded people. But […]

I’ve not posted here for a while. I had lost my way. Sometimes the only thing to do is to retreat into your shell, hide away, let the storms of fear and despair pass. Maybe I’m still lost, but it helps to turn up to a blank page, to coax the swirl of words inside […]

I’m Muslim, did you know? You might have guessed, from how I look I suppose. I once was interviewed by a woman, who after I got the job, confided in me that she could almost always tell someone’s religion after speaking to them for five minutes. I wonder if she could tell also that I’d […]

Last week my novel went out to beta-readers. Small sections of it have been seen by my critique group, but this is the first time it will be read consecutively, from beginning to end. I’m fiercely proud of the story, and simultaneously fearful about letting it travel out into the world, for now, beyond my […]

There is a time to be silent. I value it more as I grow older. The quiet after I close the children’s bedroom doors after kissing them goodnight, or when I sink into the bath. I don’t need to fill the space with noise, like I did before. It reminds me of my maternal grandfather, […]

We’re hurtling into the new year, like a comet coming into land. The past twelve months have flown faster than the ones before, while Old Man Time, scythe in hand, gleefully waits. We make vows to welcome in the fresh year, hoping at the end of it we will be fitter, happier, more successful. Setting […]

I know the answer to this question, and if you are like me, you will be jumping up and down saying: everything! Everything is fair game in art. It is the role of the writer to imagine new worlds, entertain, explore themes, and ultimately to hold up a mirror of truth. It is why the […]

When I was a child I hid under the covers after lights out with a pen torch, determined to finish one more chapter. I took books with me into the loo because I couldn’t bear to be away from the characters for a few minutes. I read in jumps and starts on car journeys when […]

I don’t often link to blog posts on this website. Usually, Twitter, Facebook and Google + are the places for me to recommend other writers and artists. This morning though the children were woken early by my husband leaving for a meeting. I sent them back to bed for a while, but instead of burrowing under […]

It’s been over two years now since I clambered up to the rooftops, cupped my hands together and admitted what I had known all along: I wanted to write, not just for me, but for readers. I thought that learning the craft, finishing and submitting stories might lead to modest sales. In fact, writing stories […]

It is past midnight. My husband is snoring next to me. He has to wake in four hours to leave for a business trip. He sleeps despite the glow of my laptop and the sound of my fingers darting across the keyboard. I write, warming my cold feet on his calves. It’s one of those […]

It’s only been a year and we are going home. We thought it would be two or even three. Three years away from the red and blue lights of London, the estates, the winding streets of terraced housing, the tube, the grit. I was ready to leave at the time. London had become like a […]

There is a frail old lady in our neighbourhood, who wanders the streets in the afternoon dressed in a sari. The saris are always tatty and loosely worn. The old lady passes fellow pedestrians without acknowledging their presence. It is as if she does not see them at all. If you say hello, she barely […]