A New Voice: Zainab Muhammad Shaheed and Kaneez’s Bulbul

Today was release day for Love Unlimited Anthology which features stories by eleven authors (including moi!) about love and its many incarnations. I didn’t say much about this anthology because I figured I had so many things on my plate as it was that you guys must be shaking your heads every time I write about one more project – even as my own project, Falling for Jordan, languishes in the sidelines and may be pushed back indefinitely.

So I figured I’d wait until release day to say something about it.

Well, I’m really happy for this anthology because not only are there eleven stories that cross generations, cultural backgrounds, and borders, there are three (I think there are three!) debut writers in the mix! Love Unlimited Anthology is their first published work and I am just so thrilled for them! Like… beyond thrilled. I’m also happy that I haven’t scared them off with my crankiness throughout the whole process!

But kidding aside, one of the stories I was looking forward to the most was Zainab Muhammad Shaheed’s story, Kaneez’s Bulbul. It’s world literature which is something I love and miss terribly. One of my favorite authors is Khaled Husseini who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both books which reduced me to tears. When I read that Zainab’s story is set against the Partition of India and Pakistan, I found myself impatient to read her story. Forget that I formatted the book, I waited until release day to read it!

And honestly, it reminds me why I love world literature. There is no Hollywood ending, no Disney versions of life stories that I’ve gotten used to reading everywhere. No, Kaneez’s Bulbul is still a story about love and I know I’ll be thinking about Kaleem and his beloved long after tonight.

So if you haven’t picked it up yet, please do. It’s free and it’s a wonderful introduction to new-to-you writers with refreshing voices like Zainab. It’s even available in paperback – although I’d give it 3 days while I tweak a few things under the hood and call it done.

EDITED TO ADD: And would you look at that? I wrote a Facebook version of the post above and it turned out completely different!

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