Hussain, Sairish (2019) The Family Tree: A Counter-Narrative. Challenging Muslim Stereotypes in Popular Fiction and Media. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project comprises a creative writing portfolio entitled The Family Tree and a critical exegesis exploring British Muslim identity, Muslim literary representations and diversity within the UK publishing industry. The Family Tree is a novel that will be published in February 2020 by HarperCollins. It is a story about a British Muslim family living in northern England and follows their struggle to come to terms with a violent assault that changes the lives of two childhood friends forever. Whilst one ends up in a permanent vegetative state, the other chooses to go missing. The commentary that accompanies the novel explores how I have written a counter-narrative to the prevailing stereotypes surrounding Muslims. The characters in The Family Tree are not merely there for ‘ethnic purposes’ and the novel addresses universal issues such as violence, grief, missing people, homelessness and drug abuse. The commentary focuses on the historical and cultural context of Britain’s Muslim communities and how their identity has shifted and evolved over time. Post-9/11 literary depictions, both male and female, are also analysed, as well as how similar patterns and recurring themes have always permeated these portrayals. I compare my novel to these examples and demonstrate how I have done things differently in order to present a more balanced and nuanced depiction of Muslims in Britain. The role of the publishing industry is also explored and how it has often hindered the publication of more diverse stories told by writers of colour. The importance of inclusion and representation are discussed at length, both in books and on screen, and how the lack of this can seep negatively in to everyday life. The current debates taking place in most of the creative industries, from film to advertising to literature, prove this is a valid and important issue that should be tackled. This, coupled with the publication of my novel in the near future, is why I believe my work is an original contribution to knowledge.

FINAL THESIS - HUSSAIN, S.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 16 October 2029.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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