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A fast-paced literary thriller that exposes Britain’s darkest secret

From the exclusive residences of Knightsbridge to the filthy brick kilns of Lahore, Razia reveals the human cost behind a world of glamour and wealth. Written by the lawyer, domestic violence campaigner and novelist Abda Khan, it gives a unique insight into global power and corruption as they impact on one young woman’s life. Did you think that slavery is something that only happens to other people in faraway places and distant times? Read Razia, and think afresh.

Farah is a young lawyer living and working in London. She’s just ended a long relationship, and her parents are looking for a husband - whether Farah wants one or not. So far, so normal. But at a work dinner, hosted by a dangerously powerful man, she comes across a young woman called Razia, who Farah soon realises is being kept as a domestic slave.
The novel follows Farah’s daring investigations from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of Pakistan, uncovering the traps that keep generations enslaved. She encounters deep-rooted oppression and corruption everywhere she turns; when the authorities finally step in, their actions have tragic results.
Farah teams up with a human rights lawyer, Ali, and the two become close… but can she trust him; can they help Razia and others like her; will they ever discover the explosive secret behind these disastrous events?

Razia is a literary novel based on years of research, but with the pace and intrigue of the best kind of thriller. Abda writes with authority, sympathy and a heart-stopping plot that will have readers gasping until the very last page. This is Britain’s darkest secret, made human. This is Razia’s story.

* 13,000: the number of people kept in slavery in the UK (the Home Office)

* 40 million slaves worldwide (International Labour Organisation and Walk Free Foundation)

* “A contemporary Tess of the D’Urbervilles”: Abda Khan’s first novel, Stained (Booklist)

* “Commended”: Abda Khan (2017 Nat West Asian Woman of Achievement Awards)

An author and lawyer, Abda Khan works with victims of domestic violence, and was Highly Commended in the 2017 Nat West Asian Woman of Achievement Awards in the Arts & Culture category.
Born in Bradford in 1969, she was the seventh of eight children, and the first to be born in the UK, to Pakistani immigrant parents who moved over in the 1960s.
Abda was the first in her family to sit A Levels and go on to higher education. She studied law in Manchester, and qualified as a Solicitor.
She married in 1995 and moved to Birmingham, where she set up her own law practice in Smethwick, in 1997. She now lives in Solihull with her husband and children.
Abda also writes short stories, and guest writes for various publications.
Aside from her legal work and her writing, Abda undertakes voluntary work; with the charity Mosaic, mentoring secondary school children, and with Birmingham & Solihull Women's Aid, helping victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault.
Her first novel, Stained, was published in America by Harvard Square Editions.

Reviews of Stained:
“A contemporary Tess of the D’Urbervilles” – Booklist
“Through the compelling plot and carefully structured narrative, Khan gives voice to women whose stories are rarely heard and raises a series of complex and challenging cultural, social and moral questions.”- Yorkshire Post
“… dark and shocking in places … Stained showcases what, for me, is the often almost hopeless reality of life for so many girls, and the ending, although sad, is refreshingly honest and real.” – Bali Rai, author of Dream On, (Un)Arranged Marriage and other books

By the time Razia reached home, she had very much forgotten about all the negative thoughts that had charged through her mind not long ago, and she smiled quietly to herself as she remembered Ahmed's soft touch and hypnotic voice. In a few days, a week at the most, she thought to herself, Ahmed's family would come over and seek the betrothal. Hopefully, her father would be agreeable, and even if her brother wasn’t keen, her father would have the final decision, and she was quietly confident that he would say yes. Then the sneaking around would all be over. She would marry the love of her life, and she would be in bliss. She was sure that she would be the happiest girl alive, for so very few women in these parts ever managed to marry for love. Mostly the girls in her village were given away in matrimony as part of arranged or forced marriages. Their opinion was never considered to be worthy or even relevant enough to be sought, let alone their consent ever obtained; they were simply told who they were to be married to, and when. It was all a matter of quiet acceptance to whatever fate had in store for them, for every single aspect of their lives was mapped out by the men; firstly, by their fathers and brothers, and then after their marriage, by their husbands and their fathers. Razia was grateful that the family that would be coming to seek her betrothal would be the family of the man that she loved fervently.

When Razia stepped into the courtyard, her mother, Nusrat, was sat on the peeriby the stove. When she wasn't at the brick kiln, her mother would usually be found here, sat on the near ground level handmade stool, preparing the food. However, today, she did not appear to be cooking. In fact, she had her face down in her chaddar. Her whole body was floppily drooped forwards. Her shoulders moved up and down rhythmically, and she looked as though she was crying, although if she was, she did so silently. Her asthmatic wheeze was the only audible sound, like a soft intermittent whistle.

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Lots of 'Razia' Stuff Going On!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Hi everyone

I have had so much going on recently that I feel I must share it with you.

Firstly, the crowdfunding campaign for Razia is beginning to gain quite a lot of attention. I was on BBC Radio West MIdlands recently talking about it, and I will be on the Breakfast show on BBC Radio Leeds on Monday 17 July so listen in if you can. I have also filmed an interview with British Muslim TV (sky…

An excerpt from Razia

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Today, it was scorching hot; the mid-afternoon sun was relentless in its pursuit to spread its iridescent light across the land as far as the eye could see.

Razia’s face shone as red as a bride’s freshly painted henna by the time she reached the stream. Once she was at the edge, she took off her sandals and carried them in one hand, and with the other she gently lifted her shalwar well above her…

Highly Commended in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards

Friday, 12 May 2017

Commendation

I am really delighted to have received a 'Highly Commended' in the Arts & Culture category of the Nat West Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2017. Just to be shortlisted from amongst hundreds of candidates was amazing in itself, but this recognition is wonderful, and gives me even more confidence and energy in my quest for Razia to be published.

If you haven't already done so, please share…

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