A fast-paced literary thriller that exposes Britain’s darkest secret
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)
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.
I am editing!
Friday, 8 June 2018
It has been a while since my last update. The good news is the I am now working with an amazing editor, Liz, and after our recent meeting at the Unbound offices, I am currently going through and making the first round of edits to Razia. I hope to get these finished by the end of July, after which Liz and I will discuss round two! It is quite lovely to revisit the novel in this detailed…
Razia is going to be published!!
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
I am so thrilled that Razia has now hit its funding target.
And I would like to say thank you so much for pledging your support and helping to make this a reality. I look forward to enjoying this journey with you towards publication and beyond.
Thursday, 22 February 2018
I am so pleased to say funding for Razia has reached 96%! I am so grateful to you for your support.
If you know of anyone who may want to pledge, be it a friend, a colleague or someone in your family, please do share the link with them, to help get this project to the finish line. There is so little contempoary fiction that ever touches on the plight of modern day slaves, and I hope…
New Video About Razia
Friday, 19 January 2018
Please find below and attached the link to a video relating to my new book - please share as widely as you can!
Free Beautiful Notebook
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
I’m giving away these gorgeous, bespoke ‘Razia’ notebooks with the next 50 pledges received!
To claim yours, simply place your pledge at www.unbound.com/books/razia, then email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to posting one out to you
Lots of 'Razia' Stuff Going On!
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
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
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…
These people are helping to fund Razia.