July/August 2023 Selection
Fatimah Asghar combines poetry with prose in her debut novel, When We Were Sisters, a poignant and heartfelt exploration of identity, sisterhood and the enduring power of love. Sisters, Noreen, Aisha and Kausar face the challenges of orphanhood after losing both their parents. Instead of the promised new home, they endure cramped living conditions under the neglectful care of their troubled uncle. Throughout their journey, they rely on one another for support, but as they grow into teenagers, their once-unbreakable bond begins to fracture.
Narrated by Kausar, the youngest sister, the book beautifully captures her growth and struggles, reflecting the complexities of their cultural identity. Asghar’s novel offers a touching exploration of love, resilience, and the quest for belonging in the face of adversity.
About the Author
Fatimah Asghar is a highly acclaimed Pakistani-American poet, writer and filmmaker. Born and raised in the United States, Asghar is known for a compelling exploration of themes such as identity, loss, love and the complexities of cultural and personal histories. Asghar's work often delves into the experiences of marginalized communities, particularly the intersections of being queer, Muslim and a child of immigrants. Their poetry and writings have been featured in numerous prestigious publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review and BuzzFeed. As a filmmaker, they co-created and co-wrote the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls, which garnered critical acclaim for its authentic portrayal of the lives of women of color. With evocative and powerful storytelling, Asghar continues to captivate audiences and leave a profound impact on contemporary literature and art.
“Don't let the small things become the big things.”
― Fatimah Asghar, When We Were Sisters