A Star to Watch: Sabina Khan

by Kirsti Granholm

Sabina Khan is an educational consultant, mother, wife, feminist and thought-provoking writer. She has lived across the world, from Bangladesh, to Germany, to the United States and along with that, she speaks multiple languages. These days, Khan resides in British Columbia with her family.  (Khan) Her latest title, The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali (Scholastic, 2019) introduced me to Khan and I was instantly impressed. Not only was I drawn to her engaging writing style, but her as a strong female figure, too.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali represents many themes important to Khan’s personal life. In an interview with Scholastic, Khan revealed that one of her motivations for this book was to create something that represented her family, rather than what is typically found in Canadian literature: “I started writing because I couldn’t find stories that had characters that looked like my girls and many of my students. As you know, here in Canada we have a very diverse population, yet in schools they are required to read the same books that have been in the curriculum for several decades.” (Scholastic, 2019)

In another interview with Bustle’s Katherine Ouellette, Khan goes on to talk about her own experience growing up, versus her daughter’s experience. She states that her parents were not supportive of her marrying a Hindu man, so she was proud when her daughter felt comfortable coming out to her parents as bisexual (Ouellette, 2019). The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali reflects many of these challenges Khan had to face growing up.

Her latest book carefully intertwines complex topics such as; sexuality, tradition, culture, and expectations with something as simple as the feeling of being understood and loved for who you are. Khan crafts her book strategically, to reveal the inner struggle that Rukhsana is battling. A struggle many of us are familiar with, no matter how we identify.

I am looking forward to future projects from Khan. Her passion for creating awareness around LGBTQIA+ affairs. As well as advocating for representation of every kind of person in Canadian literature, is inspiring for young readers and writers across the country. Plus, it is always heartening to see a writer following her dreams.

Learn more about Sabina Khan at her website sabina-khan.com

 

Sources:

Ouellette, Katherine. “Sabina Khan Wrote Her Novel So She - And Her Daughter - Could See Themselves In A Book.” Bustle, Bustle, 7 May 2019, www.bustle.com/p/sabina-khan-wrote-the-love-lies-of-rukhsana-ali-so-she-her-daughter-could-see-themselves-in-a-book-15843666.

“Sabina Khan.” Sabina Khan, sabina-khan.com/blog/

Scholastic. “Q+A With Sabina Khan, Author of The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali.” Scholastic, 2019, www.scholastic.ca/books/app/webroot/img/extras/QA_SabinaKhan.pdf.