Author Sorayya Khan discusses her new memoir, WE TAKE OUR CITIES WITH US, a book embracing a polyphony of people, stories, places, and memories
We Take Our Cities with Us is a memoir of uncommon delicacy and emotional force: Sorayya Khan illuminates her hybrid legacy and international upbringing, braiding the multiple threads of her complex identity. This is an intimate, beautiful and lasting book.
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Author Sorayya Khan in conversation with Raza Rumi
Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. EST
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Cosponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media and The Edge
Even when we leave them, our cities never leave us.
After her Dutch mother’s death, Sorayya Khan confronts her grief by revisiting their relationship, her parents’ lives, and her own Pakistani-Dutch heritage in a multicultural memoir that unfolds over seven cities and three continents.
We Take Our Cities with Us ushers us from Khan’s childhood independence forged at her grandparents’ home in Lahore; to her adolescence in Pakistan’s new capital, Islamabad; to Syracuse and Ithaca, New York, where Khan finds her footing as the mother of young, brown sons in post-9/11 America; to her birthplace, Vienna, where her parents die; and finally to Amsterdam and Maastricht, the cities of her mother’s conflicted youth.
In Khan’s gripping telling of her immigrant experience, she shows us what it is to raise children and lose parents in worlds other than your own. Drawing on family history, geopolitics, and art in this stunning story of loss, identity, and rediscovery, Khan beautifully illuminates the complexities of our evolving global world and its most important constant: love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sorayya Khan’s most recent book is WE TAKE OUR CITIES WITH US: A MEMOIR. She is the author of three novels, NOOR, FIVE QUEEN’S ROAD and CITY OF SPIES which received the Best International Fiction Book Award, Sharjah International Book Fair, 2015.
She was awarded a US Fulbright Award to conduct research in Pakistan and Bangladesh for her novels. She won a Malahat Review Novella Prize and is a recipient of a Constance Saltonstall Artist Grant, which took her to Banda Aceh, Indonesia on a project interviewing tsunami survivors. Her work has appeared in multiple publications including Lit Hub, Guernica, Longreads (Pushcart Prize nomination), Electric Lit, Oldster, The Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Journal of Narrative Politics.
She is the daughter of a Pakistani father and a Dutch mother, was born in Europe, grew up in Pakistan, and now lives in New York with her family.
Read Sorayya Khan's piece for The Edge, "Picture the Book: A Photo Essay of a Memoir"
FLEFF: A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT