Author Sajidah K. Ali started the hashtag campaign #MuslimShelfSpace with a simple mission: readers were asked to share photos of books by Muslim authors on their bookshelves (or e-readers) in order to promote Muslim authors and stories, and most importantly, create a dialogue.
Sajidah K. Ali is a champion for books written by what’s known in the publishing world as “own voices.” “’Own voices’ for me is someone who tells their own story from the perspective of someone who grew up knowing those communities,” says the Muslim author who was born in India and grew up in Canada. “And of course there is going to be a lot of diversity within those experiences as well.”
Ms. Ali says that one of the interesting results from the hashtag campaign was hearing from readers who weren’t aware that they didn’t own many books by Muslim authors. “It was nice to see shelves that had lots of books but I really did like seeing the empty spaces as well,” says Ms. Ali. “I think it got readers to think about how to go out of your sphere and reach for a book you might not have reached for so easily before. Anything that gets people to think about their choices is great.”