It’s been some time since I posted here as I’ve been working on a few writing projects that have left my typing fingers a little tired. But don’t worry, many things are in motion.
Firstly, I wanted to share with you a book that I wrote (with some help from Tahira Larmore, my mum!), Huma’s Travel Guide to Islamic Spain. It’s now available to buy from this link. You can also order it through your local bookshop using the ISBN 978-1-906949-34-1.
This is a unique travel guide that focuses specifically on the Islamic heritage of Spain, not only in terms of monuments (and there’s plenty to read on those, all the usual favourites plus many others that you probably won’t have heard of), but also in the influence of Al-Andalus that can still be appreciated in the food, language, and culture of modern-day Spain.
You can find out about mosques and halal restaurants too, plus there’s a special section on how Muslims can avoid that ever-present pork when eating out in Spain, and a section at the end, written by Abd ar-Rahman Mangera, on the fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) of travel. But it’s not just for Muslim travellers, anyone who is interested in the sophisticated civilisation of Al-Andalus will find plenty to open their mind and eyes. It’s woven through with history, poetry, anecdotes and even a few recipes. I hope you find it edifying as well as useful!
(Note: travel guides tend to go out of date very quickly but the basic information should stay the same; just bear in mind that opening times can vary year on year, and restaurants and hotels may go out of business or change contact details. We’ve just noticed a clanger which somehow didn’t get fixed before going to print – on page 22 a picture of the Alhambra has a caption describing it as the Palacio de los Mondragones in Ronda! Hopefully it’s obvious enough not to fool anyone!)
In other news, a poem from my book Love is a Traveller, ‘Before She Outgrows Your Arms’, was featured today on BBC Radio 4, on a programme by Remona Aly called Something Understood. You can catch it tonight at 11pm UK time but it’ll be on BBC iPlayer for a few weeks too. I’m reading the poem and my dad Abdal-Lateef Whiteman is playing piano to accompany it. We really enjoyed this mixture so look forward to hearing more poems from the book and newer ones (I’m working on a new collection as we speak) with musical accompaniment.
Aaaaaaaand not so long ago my piece of flash fiction, Texts I Never Sent You, was featured on Flash Fiction Magazine. I’m tinkering away with pieces of fiction and poems that I’m keeping under my hat for the time being, but a futuristic short story set in Casablanca is forthcoming on IIIT, so I’ll let you know once it’s available online or in print.
Musically I’ve been a bit quiet lately, although if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you can hear the occasional clip I record to keep my hand in. I’ve been intending to do a crowdfunding campaign to record an album for, erm, four years! But somehow work, family etc. seem to delay things. Inshallah soon…
And now for the weather. Icy sprinkles over the north-west, marshmallows in the south, and a cold front, back and sides in the east. This broadcast was brought to you by Bessica Plumpton’s Baked Goods Inc.
[Serious theme music outro]