Salma El-Wardany’s Debut Novel, of Friendship Among Muslim Women, Set for 2022

The Way We Were tells the story of three women’s friendship. “The story of young Muslim women wasn’t being told outside a stereotypical narrative,” said the Egyptian poet.
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Salma El-Wardany. Credit: Salma El-Wardany.

Salma El-Wardany. Credit: Salma El-Wardany.

Salma El-Wardany’s debut novel, The Way We Were, has been acquired by Trapeze Books in the UK in a six-figure deal. It was a pre-empt. The US rights went to Grand Central.

The Bookseller describes the Egyptian poet’s book as exploring “themes and ideas such as faith, identity, sexual trauma, loneliness and domestic abuse as well as the nature of female desire and sexuality.” It is also a testament to “female storytelling and the power of a woman’s voice.”

Here is a synopsis:

It will chart the dreams and disappointments of a group of British Muslim women: Jenna, Kees and Malak.

They have been friends for years: the three of them together against the world is how it’s always been. Yet one night changes everything between them and they are left adrift, marooned from each other as their lives take different paths.

Without the support of each other, nothing seems to go quite right in their lives. Malak and Kees, having said things to each other they’ll always regret, don’t know how to come back together and Jenna has to live with the fallout.

Salma El-Wardany is a writer, poet, speaker, and radio presenter, who voices against the marginalization and stereotyping of women, especially Muslim women.

“This book was the culmination of years of frustration,” she told Open Country Mag. “I was frustrated that the story of young Muslim women wasn’t being told outside a stereotypical, negative narrative. I felt like we deserved to live in the light, and this book is about bringing us out of the shadows.”

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Salma El-Wardany’s The Way We Were is set for release, by Trapeze Books in the UK and Grand Central in the US, in June 2022.

Paula Willie-Okafor
Paula Willie-Okafor is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. She is a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she is custodian of The Writers' Community (TWC). Her writing has appeared in Kissing Dynamite Magazine and Praxis Magazine.
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