The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Koya

Forest Avenue Press has acquired THE ROYAL ABDULS, Ramiza Shamoun Koya’s debut novel about the effects of 9/11 on an Indian-American family in Washington, D.C., for publication in spring 2020.

THE ROYAL ABDULS tells the story of eleven-year-old Omar and his aunt Amina, an evolutionary biologist who moves near her brother’s family after years of working on the West Coast. As Omar tries on an exaggerated Indian accent to impress his schoolmates, Amina struggles to focus on her study of hybrid zones while working in a male-dominated lab. Omar cycles through outlets for his vast curiosity and gets in trouble at school. His parents’ disintegrating relationship leaves only independent, career-minded Amina to look out for him. Her hesitant romance with a Sikh cricket coach and bookstore owner blossoms as Omar’s parents decide to divorce. THE ROYAL ABDULS, a family drama about the lives of secular Muslims post-9/11, engages with the struggles of women in the workplace and the difficulties of maintaining relationships in a fragmented America.

“I love this complex, heartfelt novel about a boy and his aunt, each of them straining to be true to themselves, but struggling with societal expectations and their own misbeliefs about themselves,” said Publisher Laura Stanfill. “Amina is a savvy, smart, and difficult woman—exactly the heroine we need in these times—and her nephew Omar’s awkward attempts to connect to other kids stir the deep childhood heartbreak we’ve all experienced. Ramiza’s stunning tale moves back and forth between these two households as Omar and Amina experience life-changing transitions and find that relying on each other is the best way forward.”

Ramiza Koya has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and has lived and taught in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Morocco. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in publications such as Lumina, Washington Square Review, and Catamaran, and she has been a fellow at both MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center. Her mother was born in Texas, her father in the Fiji Islands, and she was born in California. Currently, she lives and works in Portland, Oregon, where she is Director of Youth Programs at Literary Arts.

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