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'Magical' KANEEZ SURKA
'Funny, intense, thoughtful' FARAH BASHIR
'A rare, precious memoir' NATASHA BADHWAR
When Shubnum Khan signed up for a photoshoot as part of an art project in college, she hadn’t imagined that the photographs would be plastered on billboards and advertisements all over the world. Two years on, her smiling face had sold condos in Mumbai and Florida, drawn subscribers to dating websites and convinced desperate customers of the supposed wonders of skin-lightening creams. This is but one of the many astounding misadventures she chronicles in How I Accidentally Became a Global Stock Photo and Other Strange and Wonderful Stories.
In this part memoir, part travelogue, Shubnum takes the reader on unpredictable journeys far from her family home in South Africa. Whether it’s going off the grid in the Himalayas, getting pulled out of the ocean in Turkey or becoming a bride on a rooftop in Shanghai, she is quirky, moving and vulnerable in what she shares. All the while, she reflects on what it means to be a woman, especially a single Muslim woman, in the modern world.
Drawing from her diverse personal experiences, Shubnum shows us how to courageously take on life's most absurd surprises with good humour and a fistful of hope. Her book is a helpful reminder that once ‘you step off the edge, anything can happen’.
'Oh, the places you will go when you break out of society's constraints and follow your own heart. Shubnum Khan beats to her own refreshing drum in this magical book. This is the memoir we need' KANEEZ SURKA, actor and comedian
'The voice of a global girl from Durban, funny, intense and thoughtful, one that I had never heard before' FARAH BASHIR, author of Rumours of Spring
'Shubnum Khan is a miraculous writer. The raw vulnerability of her storytelling will crack open your heart. The lightness of touch with which she explores complex issues and exposes social hypocrisies is truly a gift to the reader. Shubnum’s disarming ability to laugh at herself and the emotional honesty with which she navigates her own fearlessly imaginative, often contradictory inner world makes this a rare, precious memoir that helps reveal the reader to themselves' NATASHA BADHWAR, author of My Daughters' Mum
‘The world of Shubnum is like a trip up the Magic Far Away Tree – some lands are familiar; lands that we’ve all lived in as South African children – even lands where our moms wrote into the You magazine for prizes. Some lands she takes us to are foreign and filled with adventures with enchanting strangers. What ties this beautiful book together is that the stories are rooted in love, family and, most of all – courage’ NINA HASTIE, comedian
‘A delightful read. It will make you laugh, learn and touch your heart, then fill it with bravery. Shubnum Khan’s work is, as always, decadent. Her memoirs are a literary bonbon, a treat that a reader can indulge in, identify with, be moved and inspired by and simply ... enjoy’ SHANTHINI NAIDOO, author of Women in Solitary
‘Written with uniquely South African insights yet showing the universality of the human experience, these adventure-filled vignettes are as enlightening as they are hilarious. Bravo to Shubnum Khan on this witty collection. A worthwhile addition to any bookshelf’ ZUKISWA WANNER, author of London, Cape Town, Joburg
Shubnum Khan is a South African author and artist. Her first novel, Onion Tears, was shortlisted for the Penguin Prize for African Writing and the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for Writing in English. She holds a Master’s degree in English and has been selected for a number of literary fellowships, including the Octavia Butler Fellowship at Jack Jones Literary Arts and the Mellon Fellowship at Stellenbosch University. When not travelling, Shubnum lives in Durban writing and drawing for a living.