Each week, we’re asking different writers, artists and others to share some of their current favorites. This week we feature picks from writer and editor Ayesha Mattu. She is a writer, editor and international development consultant who has worked in the field of women’s human rights since 1998. Her first book, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, was featured globally by media including the New York Times, NPR, the BBC, Washington Post, Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan, and Jakarta Post. She was selected a ‘Muslim Leader of Tomorrow’ by the UN Alliance of Civilizations and has served on the boards of IDEX, the Women’s Funding Network, and World Pulse. Ayesha is an alumna of Voices of Our Nations writers’ workshop and a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her second book — the companion anthology Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy (Beacon Press) — will be released in February 2014. Connect with Ayesha through Twitter and her website.
A few of my favorite things:
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – “The danger of a single story”
This is the one TED talk I come back to time and again for the reminder to look deeper and ask questions each time a single narrative occupies the national (or international) stage. Which, given the current political climate, is every day.
2. VONA/Voices of Our Nations writers’ workshop
This workshop changed my life. I encourage all writers of color to apply; incredible mentorship, craft development, community and networking.
3. Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album In Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza
What I listen to while I write. Curated by hip-hop artist Brooklyn Shanti, and political activist/writer Tanzila ‘Taz’ Ahmed in support of a great cause.
4. “The Parallel Universe Where My Brother Lives”
Ali Mattu’s award-winning piece on his brother’s (and my cousin’s) suicide and the taboo of mental illness in the South Asian community. A poignant, important read.
5. Mutha Magazine
Mutha Magazine: diverse writers, honest perspectives, and smokin’ hot writing. Two fantastic pieces: Shanthi Sekaran’s “Life Sentence: On writing, motherhood & the truth” and Sharline Chiang’s searing “Beyond the Baby Blues.”
6. The Still Point of the Turning World: A Mother’s Story by Emily Rapp
A clear-eyed, eviscerating memoir on what it means to love and let go.
7. Muslima — International Museum of Women
8. Raw pumpkin and cranberry ginger cream parfaits
Because, delicious. (Recipe)