MSU Libraries’s well-established book club Muslim Journeys will feature something new this month: the author. Award-winning novelist Dr. Ausma Zehanet Khan will lead a discussion of her own novel, The Unquiet Dead, Tuesday, March 10 from 7 – 9 pm in the Green Room of the Main Library. The event is presented in partnership with the MSU Muslim Studies Program and is co-sponsored by the MSU Canadian Studies Program.
The Unquiet Dead is a police procedural that addresses issues of identity, war, religion, equity, truth, and family. It features a second-generation Canadian Muslim as the head of Toronto’s Community Policing Section, an investigation of the death of a Serb who oversaw the slaughter of thousands of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, plenty of suspense, and difficult history. It is the first book in the critically acclaimed Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mystery series. The most recent book in the series, A Deadly Divide,was named one of the best crime novels of 2019 by CrimeReads and Library Journal.
Kahn holds a Ph.D. in international human rights law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. Previously, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Muslim Girl magazine. The magazine was the subject of two documentaries and hundreds of national and international profiles and interviews. She has practiced immigration law in Toronto and taught international human rights law at Northwestern University and York University. Her non-fiction book, Ramadan, was selected as a Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2019, and also as the Children's Literature Roundtable of Canada's 2019 Information Book Award Honour Book.
Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem said Khan’s visit will contribute something new and important for participants in the book discussion group. “This Series is a notable part of our commitment to leading meaningful conversations in diversity and inclusion,” Salem said. “The discussions give people a way to make positive connections across cultures. Khan’s visit will give readers an opportunity to engage directly with an author who has a deep understanding of the effects of Islamophobia, and we hope this will be a meaningful experience for readers.”
MSU Librarian Deborah Margolis, who organized the Muslim Journeys Series, said Khan’s experience in international human rights law and her expertise in the history of war crimes will help participants in the March book club navigate a difficult, complex, and important discussion. “This book is thrilling and suspenseful, but it’s also somber and difficult,” Margolis said. “Khan can help us address the difficult history that is part of this novel. It is our hope that reading and discussing Dr. Khan’s book can help us be alert and unified in our responses to hatred in the present.”
The Muslim Journeys book discussion events generally feature short lectures from local scholars followed by small group discussions led by graduate students. The events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are provided. Participants are encouraged to read the books ahead of time. This semester’s series is cosponsored by East Lansing Public Library, the Islamic Society of Greater Lansing, Truth Racial Healing & Transformation of Metro Lansing, LATTICE (Linking All Types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education, and MSU COMICS Forum.