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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Zahra Barri’s journey as a comedian turned author

Comedian Zahra Barri takes readers on a captivating journey through queerness, revolution, and Islamic sisterhood in her debut book.

In a remarkable turn of events, comedian Zahra Barri has secured a book deal after winning the prestigious talent hunt organised by Unbound publishing house. As one of the winners of the Unbound Firsts scheme, Barri’s debut book, titled “Daughters Of The Nile,” promises a captivating exploration of queerness, revolution, and Islamic sisterhood. With its release scheduled for June next year, this eagerly anticipated work is set to captivate readers worldwide. 

From Stand-Up to Authorship

Zahra Barri, a talented Egyptian/Irish stand-up comedian, has been making waves in the entertainment industry for several years. With appearances on popular shows like Channel 4’s “Only Jokes a Muslim Can Tell,” BBC radio, and BBC Asian Network, Barri has showcased her unique brand of humour to audiences far and wide. Her witty and thought-provoking performances have earned her critical acclaim and a devoted following. Additionally, in 2020, she achieved recognition as a runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished prize.

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Unbound Firsts Scheme

The Unbound Firsts scheme aims to celebrate and champion previously unpublished writers of colour. Zahra Barri’s talent and the distinctiveness of her work caught the attention of the Unbound publishing house, leading to her selection as one of the scheme’s winners. This remarkable achievement has opened the doors for her to share her passion project, “Daughters Of The Nile,” with a wider audience.

Multigenerational Masterpiece

Barri’s book,”Daughters Of The Nile”, promises to be an enthralling multigenerational debut that takes readers on a journey through Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and England from 1940 to 2012. The book explores the lives of three generations of Egyptian women and delves into themes of queerness, revolution, and Islamic sisterhood.

Story Unveiled

The narrative begins in Cairo, where readers are introduced to Fatiha Bin-Khalid, the matriarch, and her friendship with Muslim feminist Doria Shafik. Together, they fight for women’s rights during a time of revolution and change. The story then moves to Tehran, where Yasminah, who has been shamed by society, escapes with her bisexual boyfriend. Finally, readers are transported to London in 2012, where Nadia, a British-born woman, battles alcoholism, toxic masculinity, identity crises, and personal struggles.

A Tale of Resilience and Inherited Struggles

Throughout the book, these resilient women face numerous challenges, including revolutions, military coups, misogyny, and prejudice. Yet, despite their resilience, they find themselves repeating the mistakes of their predecessors, trapped in a cycle of self-destruction. It is Nadia, the youngest and most rebellious, who must confront her own shame and shamelessness in order to break free from the cycle and reshape the future of the Bin-Khalid family.

Must-Read Exploration of Female Bonds

“Daughters Of The Nile” offers readers an astute examination of the enduring strength of female bonds. As the characters navigate different lifelines and continents, they inherit both the triumphs and struggles of their ancestors. Zahra Barri’s writing combines originality and dark humour, making her debut book a must-read for fans of compelling works like Sheena Patel’s “I’m a Fan,” Tara M. Stringfellow’s multi-faceted “Memphis,” and Leïla Slimani’s insightful non-fiction debut, “Sex and Lies.”

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Zahra Barri’s remarkable journey from stand-up comedy to becoming a published author is a testament to her talent and dedication. With her book “Daughters Of The Nile” set to be released in June next year, readers can eagerly anticipate immersing themselves in a captivating tale that spans generations and continents. Barri’s unique voice, combined with her exploration of queerness, revolution, and Islamic sisterhood, is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers worldwide.