Hafsa Zayyan

We Are All Birds of Uganda
  • We Are All Birds of Uganda

  • WINNER of the Merky Books New Writers' Prize
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    'A remarkably accomplished, polished debut.' MALORIE BLACKMAN
    'Rightfully tipped for greatness' SUNDAY TIMES
    'This moving tale of love and loss ... is well worth the wait' INDEPENDENT
    '[W]hat's distinctive is the modern, multi-ethnic vision of masculinity she presents and the solidarity that emerges from it ... undeniably powerful too.' GUARDIAN
    '[A] sprawling and epic dual narrative ... woven together with gentle urgency; sensitive and with a rare perspective on how our mixed race backgrounds can help form feelings of both internal power and conflict.' I-D MAGAZINE

    'You can't stop birds from flying, can you, Sameer? They go where they will...'

    1960s UGANDA
    . Hasan struggles to keep his family business afloat following the sudden death of his wife. As he begins to put his shattered life back together piece by piece, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.

    Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a heritage he never knew.
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    Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong.

    It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, and one of the most exciting young novelists of today.
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    Stylist's Best Fiction 2021
    The Independent's January Book of the Month
    Marie Claire's January Book of the Month
    Refinery29 Reads: The Books We're Picking Up This January

    The British Blacklist: January To Be Read List
    As featured in the Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Observer

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    Readers have been entranced by We Are All Birds of Uganda:

    'I connected with this book immediately ... Racism, generational culture, love and family ties are all key components of this novel by a really accomplished debut author who I feel sure we are going to hear a lot more from.'

    'I can't find the words to describe how much I adored every, single, beautiful word of this totally amazing story. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would.'

    'A truly remarkable debut ... I have found a new favourite author'

    'A must-read if you enjoyed The Beekeeper of Aleppo'

    'This is one of the best books I have read in a long time and the writing is exceptional. A truly remarkable debut novel that I will shout about from the rooftops.'

    'What an amazing book. Sensitively written, it covers so many issues. Family, religion, racism, bullying, loyalty. Eloquent writing made me feel completely part of the story ... An absolute gem of a book.'

    'This story is a compelling reminder that it is important to know where you come from in order to know where you want to go'

    'Zayyan intricately weaves the often forgotten story of South Asian migrants in Uganda, through past and present. Meticulously crafted, beautifully and thoughtfully written, with complex characters, this was an absolute pleasure to read.'

    'A beautifully written story with themes of race and emigration. This is an extremely accomplished and readable story.'

Hafsa Zayyan is a writer and dispute resolution lawyer based in London. She won the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers' Prize in 2019. We Are All Birds of Uganda is her debut novel, inspired by the mixed background from which she hails. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and holds a masters' degree from the University of Oxford.

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