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Shereen Malherbe

Writer & author of Jasmine Falling

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October 2016

Review: Stained by Abda Khan

Cinderzena's Book Blog

I closed my eyes. I wanted to see nothing, I  wanted to feel nothing. I just wanted darkness, blackness, but my eyes kept dragging me back to it all. And still, all I could hear was the tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. I put my hands over my ears, desperately trying to banish the incessant noise that was on repeat in my head, to no effect. How was I ever going to get that sound out of my head? Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock….

stained.png

Stained is a story of a beautiful intelligent young British Pakistani woman whose life’s aspirations and dreams are put on hold due to the scandalous actions of a supposedly trusted member of society. This is only the surface summary of the story. The book delves into weighty and sensitive issues that those involved and those who look on, wish to sweep under the rug rather than face it head on…

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Win a free paperback copy of Jasmine Falling via Goodreads

Win a free paperback copy of Jasmine Falling by entering its Goodreads Giveaway.

News and Reviews

Jasmine Falling, the debut novel by writer, Shereen Malherbe is currently listed 22/138 best books by Muslim women. Specialising in the representation of Muslim women in the media and in Western societies, Shereen wrote Jasmine Falling after exploring her heritage homeland in Palestine. An advocate and speaker for own voices fiction and the need for diverse narratives in literature, Shereen’s debut novel is reaching audiences worldwide. Jasmine Falling has an average of 4.5 stars via Goodreads and has featured on TV programmes, magazines and literary journals worldwide. It currently ranks number 2 by Goodreads voters on books representing Muslims in literature.

‘…a solid debut…looking forward to reading more from Ms.Malherbe’ Blue Minaret Literary Journal

Jasmine Falling is also a rich Middle Eastern tale that makes us fall for a land ripped between war and other social ills. The beauty and the richness of the land are still present no matter what it went through and still goes through as shows through the pages that Malherbe penned so well.’ Sisters Magazine

‘Jasmine Falling bleeds poetic and mesmerizing moments profusely.’ RDP Amazon reader

‘My rating: 5 of 5 stars. I found Jasmine Falling a beautiful work of art which was emotionally moving and will stay with me for some time to come. Magnificent.’ Indie Author Advocate

‘This book may be particularly poignant for people who grew up outside of their parents’ culture, or who have parents from two different cultures but only lived in one. It certainly made me realize how important it is to acknowledge and celebrate all of the cultures of those who reared me, lest I feel incomplete’ Muslimah Media Watch

Note from the author.

‘Good story telling should be devoid of labels and categories. It should cross boundaries and open up new perspectives of the humanity we all share as people.’

To read more visit Jasmine Falling homepage or Goodreads.

 

Catch the sunlight

Loved this capturing of a new dawn

madeehah writes

In these early hours of the morning, when all the dreams and wishes of the world lay in the palm of your hand, everything seems possible. Sunrise stretches over this ancient earth, but each morning it feels as soft and supple as a newborn baby,  like fresh snow awaiting footprints to carve a path into its canvas.

Push past the dreary remnants of sleep, the exhaustion that fills your bones, and the dread of the coming day. Push it all to the side. Listen to the songs of the morning birds, those that are ready to chase their purpose with every fibre in their tiny feathers. Those that chase the sunlight.

Spread the prayer rug out and let your forehead touch the worn fabric. Whisper words of wishes and hopes, to the only One who listens. Listens to the fears of frightened souls who have hearts too fragile to hold the world’s pain.

Go…

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Why You Need a Book Poster

Independent authors are faced with many unique challenges, and one of the most daunting is promotion. Seeing your book in print for the first time is a special moment that soon gives way to the sob…

Source: Why You Need a Book Poster

Jasmine Falling arrives at Universities in Palestine

It was always my intention that my book should return to the country and to the people who inspired it. Thank you for your generosity, warmth, strength and for sharing your stories. For anyone who wishes to read a copy of Jasmine Falling in Palestine, you can now loan from the following university libraries below.

More universities and schools will be added soon.

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Writing between two worlds

Writing between two worlds

I often reminisce about sun-drenched afternoons in Palestine when we had the time to sit and share stories. We would walk home at dusk. Our conversations became about hope and expectations as we tried to find our own place in the world. The worries of the Occupation would temporarily fade into the background to be replaced with life and its opportunities, despite the many restrictions. This however, was not my childhood. I was born and raised in England, with minimal contact with my Palestinian family except for the odd trip there as a child. The joining of our two worlds, which happened on that afternoon in my twenties, and has led me on the start of my own journey.

During those months spent in Palestine, I began collecting stories, those most in danger of being eroded by the passage of time, and each one with differing meanings to a new generation. I knew I had to capture them, and find a way to tell them. This rich history was intertwined with my own. I thought about how losing it would equal a loss of what my family had fought for, what they had lived through and died for. It was compounded by the fact that it is Palestine; a country shifting so dramatically that I did not know what I would return to even a year later, let alone in my children’s lifetime.

Blood Ties

As I explored both sides of my heritage, it became harder to maintain the detachment I had maintained my whole life. I wept with them through their struggles, I walked through the apartheid wall where we were herded like cattle, and I was kept at the border for hours, under suspicion because of my Palestinian association. When you have blood ties to a land you consider how every word you write will be received by your family who live there. I considered rewriting my characters and my book multiple times. But, then I would remember the newness and hope I had felt that afternoon many years before. I realized that my narrative could work as bridge between the two worlds, allowing me to share a new generation’s optimism, and my own.

Family Expectations

I received many comments and emails about what to include, and what I should have as the front cover. The writing of this book became a beacon for what ‘I could show the West’ and ranged from the political, to the religious to everything in between. I thanked them for their faith, passion and strength: traits I have seen throughout every aspect of their lives, but my book remained largely unchanged.  I returned to England and printed off the manuscript for my novel.

Being misunderstood

Being judged back in the UK based on the newly discovered side of my Palestinian heritage was new for me. My first experience was in a typed letter from a literary agent telling me that, ‘My character’s Palestinian background jarred’ with the women’s fiction category I was writing for. My work centres around the lack of representation of Muslim women in the media and literature, and the effects of this exclusion. Whether it is slowly beginning to change with new initiatives on diversity remains to be seen, but with reports of authors being told to write fiction ‘conforming to a stereotypical view of their communities’ or to risk not being published, there are more changes that need to happen before diversity becomes part of the mainstream.

Celebrating heritages.

Since my novel has been published, the responses from readers have reinforced the need for more representation. They have shared how they feel about celebrating and discovering who they are, and the importance of exploring their multiple heritages, ‘lest they should feel incomplete’. It is a constant reminder that our differences are what make us. Don’t let the lack of representation silence your voice, as Toni Morrison says, ‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’  And now when I return to those summer afternoons with my family in Palestine, will they be welcoming my narrative of our shared homeland? I hope so.

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