Kenyan-born and Sydney writer, Rashida Tayabali, wants to portray Australian migrant stories and challenges through fiction as these stories are not being told.
Hello! My name is Rashida Tayabali. Ever since I can remember, stories have been a part of my life. It all started with my maternal grandmother Fatima who loved to narrate stories about her life in Yemen, magical folk and her life experiences. I was born and brought up in Kenya and discovered books from a very early age. By age 9 I had read all the books and magazines mum had in the house. Reading books always makes me feel alive. It’s no surprise bookshops and libraries are my favourite places to visit! I’d also harboured a dream of becoming an author from the age of 15. Life after Ali is my first novel. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Rashida Tayabali author

Rashida Tayabali

“The best piece of advice I’ve ever received from writer groups is that if you don’t see the type of books you’d like to read, write them yourself,” said Rashida who self-published her debut novel, Life after Ali, on 6 October 2021.

Life after Ali is the story of Tasneem Zain, an Indian migrant and Sydney resident who loses her husband Ali without any warning. Overnight, she becomes an outsider and is considered ‘bad luck’ by her small, conservative community.

While struggling to come to terms with her loss, she starts searching for a new identity. Who is she and what does she want?

“The story is inspired by a true event in my family, and also how I’ve seen and heard widows being treated in certain communities. I wanted to shine a light on this issue through my book, that a woman’s life isn’t over just because her husband dies. She has a right to move on with her life and start over if that’s what she wants,” said Rashida.

Life after Ali book

Life after Ali has received some great reviews on Amazon.com.au

Life After Ali is a fresh insight into the culture, challenges and shifting expectations of Muslim Indian Australians. Rashida gently tackles the devastating question of ‘what would you do if you lost your partner?’ with a sense of grace and serendipity. Her characters are warm and believable as they move through their shared grief to creating their new life post loss. The perfect novel for a rainy Saturday afternoon by the fire.

Life after Ali took me on a beautiful, heart-breaking, but hopeful journey into the world of life-changing loss. And gave an enlightening insight into the cultural expectations facing Muslim Indian Australian women in times of grief. I devoured this book over a weekend, taking every spare moment to unfold the story of Tasneem and her family. Life after Ali is about honouring loss, but also about how grief fits us all differently, and the hope that comes with moving on.

“I self-published my novel as I didn’t want my story altered to fit mainstream expectations. I wanted to focus on and bring out the cultural nuances that often get lost in translation so readers can fully experience what Tasneem’s character goes through. I want to write authentic stories of migrants just being people, facing certain challenges and how they overcome these. I also want the Australian audience to have good insights into the unique challenges faced by migrants,” said Rashida.

Life after Ali is available as an ebook and paperback on Amazon.com.au, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Booktopia and Google Play for $10.99 and $18 respectively.