Fatima Farheen Mirza is a 27 year-old graduate from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop and her first book, A Place For Us, has been chosen by actress Sarah Jessica Parker as the first title for her new imprint with publisher Penguin Random House.
The novel revolves around the fictional marriage of a woman named Hadia, the eldest daughter of an Indian-American Muslim family living in California. The marriage surfaces intergenerational tensions between the American-born children of the family and their immigrant parents. Random House described the book as a “poignant portrait of a family caught between two cultures, and a resonant story of faith, tradition, identity, and belonging in contemporary America.”
Ms. Mirza tells the Dallas News that she wanted to portray the family’s dynamic as “honestly and as closely” as she could. She continues, “Oftentimes Muslims are painted with a single brush stroke. There aren’t complex portrayals of them in media, literature or film. There isn’t a great understanding of what it means to be a Muslim or what being Muslim is actually like. Painting an entire group of people with a very broad and unnuanced brush stroke is such a failure. It’s such a lazy way to approach one another.”
Sarah Jessica Parker’s involvement, the author says, has been extremely supportive. “She’s been very generous, and it’s been lovely having her guidance. I have such an admiration for her. It continues to grow the more we work together… She believes literature is something that can open people’s minds and hearts, and she has chosen to create an imprint that speaks to her tastes and her hopes about what fiction can do for our lives.”