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Soniah Kamal Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

An Isolated Incident (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unmarriageable (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Measure of Belonging: Writers of Color on the New American South(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
South to South: Writing South Asia in the American South(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Soniah Kamal
Soniah Kamal was born in Pakistan, and grew up in Saudi Arabia and England, and she has lived in various states in America. She is a public speaker, an award winning novelist, and an essayist. Soniah is a life time member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

She attended St. John’s College as an undergraduate, where she studied philosophy.

Soniah has taught global literature and creative writing at Emory University and Oglethorpe University and she is faculty at Reinhardt University. She has been a repeat mentor for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and served as Writer-in-Residence for the Fulton County Library System.

She had always wanted to be an actress, but didn’t get the permission. So she stuck to storytelling. Her first short stories were loosely based on Enid Blyton’s mystery novels and boarding schools, and L. M. Montgomery’s “Anne of the Green Gables” series, but by the time she was sixteen years old she was writing original stories.

She likes to get the first draft finished in one go in order to keep the narrative mood consistent. Since this is really hard to do for a novel, she does it one chapter at a time.

Soniah only writes when she feels like it, although she finds that a lot of writing a novel is thinking about it and she is writing in her head when she is not actually writing. She has no strict routine when writing, and will probably procrastinate too much. She also indulges too much in coffee and junk food.

Soniah has pretty much learned to write with her kids talking to her all at once, the dog barking at the cat and the cat trying to jump in her lap, and the tv blaring. She finds there is no such thing as quiet time or locking herself into her study to get work done.

“An Isolated Incident” took close to a decade and many rewrites before she was finally happy with it. For a class, she wrote eighty thousand words in ten days which is a complete first draft of a tentative novel. She will have to scrap most of the draft, and hopes she never has to write so much again.

When she was about eighteen years old, an aunt gave her a red and gold leather copy of “Pride and Prejudice” in the late eighties. She was smitten by the story of a mom desperate to see all of her daughters “well settled” and the societal constraints and the expectations the daughters have to endure. While reading it, she thought it was like what happened in Pakistan’, and thought if she ever became a writer, she would rewrite the story and set it in Pakistan.

As a student of English literature, she grew up reading British classics: Shakespeare, Keats, Hardy, Austen, Donne, and, just for fun, Enid Blyton. While studying in Saudi Arabia, she read American writers like S. E. Hinton and Judy Blume. However, there were no stories that reflected her everyday life in Pakistan and part of her wanted to retell “Pride and Prejudice”, and recast the story she loved but include her own daily reality.

The novel was also her MFA thesis. She should have had more than a year to write it, but due to an error in her syllabus, had only two months. Soniah had tried many times in the ten years before this, but would give up shortly after she had started. It intimidated her to even try retelling a beloved classic. She wanted to show how the mores and morals of Austen’s England two centuries before were still applicable in Pakistan when her version is set.

Soniah’s debut novel, called “An Isolated Incident”, was released in the year 2014. It was a finalist for both the Karachi Literature Festival-Embassy of France Prize and the Townsend Prize for Fiction.

Her second book “Unmarriageable” is a 2019 Book All Georgians Should Read, a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, and was shortlisted for a 2020 Townsend Prize for Fiction.

“An Isolated Incident” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2017. Zari Zoon, a vivacious woman from Kashmir, looks forward to marrying her fiance right as tragedy strikes. The next thing she knows, she is on a plane to America to stay with some of her distant relatives that have offered to give her a temporary home in order to help her put her life back together.

Billy Nabi, who is very tender-hearted, longs to help Zari out however the decisions he makes are going to jeopardize all of them.

“Unmarraigeable” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2019. Alys Binat sworn she would never marry. Until an encounter with Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her rethink things.

A vicious rumor and a scandal that concerns the Binat family have ruined their prospects for desirable marriages and wrecked their fortunes. However Alys, the most practical and second of the five Binat daughters, has found some happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Alys, who knows that many of the students in her class aren’t going to make it to graduation before they drop to marry and have kids, teaches them all about Jane Austen and all of her other literary heroes. This is in the hopes to inspire these girls to dream of more.

An invite arrives to the largest wedding their tiny town has seen in many years, Mrs. Binat, who is sure their luck will change, gets to work getting her daughters ready to fish for eligible and rich bachelors. The first night of the festivities, Alys’ wonderful older sister, named Jena, catches Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the single and wildly successful entrepreneur. However, Valentine Darsee, Bungles’s friend, clearly is unimpressed by the Binat family.

Alys overhears his unflattering assessment of her and soon dismisses him and his snobbish ways. While the days of lavish wedding parties occur, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena is going to land a proposal. Alys starts to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner could be hiding a much different guy from the one she first saw.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Soniah Kamal

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