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My Past Is a Foreign Country: A Memoir of A Young Muslim Feminist

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Photo from the author’s IG account


About the author:

Zeba Talkhani explores her journey, as a Muslim feminist, in her new book. She has written for the Saudi Gazette, The Manipal Journal, and the Nasty Women anthology, among other periodicals. She works in publishing and is a passionate advocate for BAME (Black, Asian, and minority Ethnics) voices in the publishing industry. She was born in Sirsi, South India, in 1991. She currently lives in London.


My Past is a Foreign Country


By Zeba Talkhani


About the book:

The Skinny – Zeba Talkhani’s memoir is a hopeful story of casting off cultural and personal expectations, and fighting for the right to individuality.

Zeba was four when she ran away from home for the second time. This is how we’re introduced to My Past is a Foreign Country, and the inherent power in the silences of her life as much as the words that shape it.

Zeba explores her journey within this discordance to independence and living on her own terms as a Muslim feminist.


Zeba Talkhani’s account in her book is feminist manifesto on non-conformity.


Growing up in Saudi Arabia amid its patriarchal customs, through seeking personal freedom in India, Germany and finally the UK, Zeba navigates her relationship with her mother. She discusses the challenges she faced when she was younger through hair loss, to financial independence, and marriage. It’s the warmth and candor around such topics that truly welcomes the reader in.

Still in her 20s, it’s a shining example of why memoirs don’t need to come later in life to have something important and insightful to offer.

Amazon books – Zeba Talkhani Rejected the traditional path her culture had chosen for her. Drawing on her personal experiences Zeba shows how she fought for the right to her individuality as a Muslim feminist. She explains how she refused to let negative experiences define her.



Books and Bao by Will HeathMy Past is a Foreign Country, while being at once an affecting and intimate story of growth, change, and self-discovery, also does with utmost success what any good memoir should: it educates.

Through this book, Zeba reveals herself to be an impassioned and clear teacher of the multidimensionality of Islam across multiple nations and cultures. What begins as a very claustrophobic kind of memoir about family quickly blossoms into a multi-layered journey of personal, national, and religious discovery.

Zeba’s account is in her book is feminist manifesto on non-conformity. It inspires us to have faith in our own individual interpretations of life, what meaning and purpose we draw from it, and how we choose to live it. It demonstrates how gaining a personal insight into, and interpretation of, one’s faith can lead to self-assuredness, in whatever form that might take.






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