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Bushra Rehman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Corona (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Bushra Rehman
Bushra Rehman grew up in Corona, Queens, however her mom says that she was born in this ambulance flying down the streets of Brooklyn. This would explain quite a bit. She was a vagabond poet that traveled for years without much more than a Greyhound ticket and a book bag filled with poems.

Bushra is co-editor of the seminal text on feminism and race Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism and author of poetry Marianna’s Beauty Salon.

“Corona” was picked by the NY Public Library as one of its favorite books about NYC.

She finished college in San Francisco, returned to the New York area, and found organizations which served the interest of LGBTQ communities. She reconciled with her parents, and got her MFA at Brooklyn college, just because she wanted to teach. She already had a writer’s life, had a community, and it was a great writer’s life she was living.

She had been writing “Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion” her entire life. With nine years of intense writing, twenty years of creating the world of the story through vignettes and poems, and the rest of it was her life living the seeds of the stories, healing, and creating this writing community to help bring this novel into the world.

The book started as a poem that she used to share in the spoken-world of 1990s New York City. This was an electric time, when young BIPOC writers were handed a mic and a stage. For those few minutes, they shone. All this energy and so much more went into the creation of this book.

She references Paul Simon’s song about Corona, called “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”. Bushra also knew a Julia once as well. They didn’t hang out down by the schoolyard like Paul Simon must have with his Julio. They didn’t hang out anywhere at all, however she loved him the way that you only could when you were a kid. He carried his body like matchstick, like fire, rope.

All of the girls in her school would show off for Julio, fighting and cursing. In Corona, girls learned early on to flash their skin, chew gum, flirt, and play games in order to bring the boys down to their knees, although it typically wound up the other way around.

It was challenging for her to learn how to write fiction when she is really a poet at heart. It was tough to shape the timeline of the novel and know which of her characters needed to soften up a bit and which ones needed to step out front more. However possibly the most challenging aspect was finding the space and time to write as she hustled to raise a kid and pay the rent. When she got writing residencies, and when she signed with Flatiron, she was finally able to focus on her writing, and it was her dream come true.

She would write and edit her work primarily on the subways to and from work. She has taken up writing in libraries and coworking spaces. She tries connecting with her writing each and every day, even if this is just journaling, so that she is always warmed up and is able to drop into a story even if she just has about twenty minutes. Toward the end of “Roses”, she was working for long stretches of time in this beautiful coworking space on the Hudson River, and this is when some deep magic happened for her.

“Corona” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2013. Razia Mirza is a Pakistani woman from Corona, Queens, that grew up in a tight Muslim community which surrounds the first Sunni masjid built in New York City. This rebellious streak leads to her getting ex-communicated, she decides it is time to hit the road.

Corona moves between her childhood and the comedic misadventures that she encounters on her journey, from New York City’s Bhangra music scene to a Puritan Colony in Massachusetts.

With each of these stories, we learn more about the past that she is escaping from, a past which leads her to constantly travel in this spiral, always getting closer to yet never quite arriving back home.

“Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Razia Mirza grows up amid all the backyard sunflowers and wild grape vines of Corona, Queens with Saima, her best friend, by her side. When a family rift drives these girls apart, Razia’s heart gets broken. She finds solace in a new girl, named Taslima, in her close-knit Pakistani-American community. They embark on this series of tiny rebellions: wearing miniskirts, listening to scandalous music, and cutting class to explore the city.

Razia gets accepted to Stuyvesant, this prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between the daughter her parents want her to be and the person she actually is, widens. At Stuyvesant, she meets Angela and is attracted to her in such a way which blossoms into a new understanding. Their relationship gets found out by an Aunty in the community, she has to pick between her own future and her family.

Punctuated by both loss and joy, filled with 80s music and beloved novels, this is a new classic. It’s a fiercely compassionate coming-of-age story about a girl that struggles to reconcile her faith and heritage with her desires to be true to herself.

This is an unforgettable tale about queer love and female friendship in a Muslim-American community. The novel is heartbreaking and beautiful, but it just ends too soon. Razia’s voice is both humorous and enchanting, and portrays this genuine struggle between being who we want to be, and who we’re expected to be, and the wild journey of self discovery that’s equal parts joyous and painful, gratifying and tense. It’s a story that is filled with courage, poise, and honesty, while being big hearted throughout.

Bushra delivers a wonderfully intimate exploration of stepping into one’s truth, which holds this incredibly vibrant encouragement to defend dreams and the right to be unapologetically oneself.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Bushra Rehman

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