New Novels From New Faculty

Aamina Ahmad and Megan Giddings join English this fall as professors of fiction writing
Two book covers side by side, both with white type over abstract color backgrounds. Text of first: The Return of Farzaz Ali, Aamina Ahmad. Text of second: The Women Could Fly, Megan Giddings

Congratulations to new assistant professors of creative writing Aamina Ahmad and Megan Giddings, who both published novels in 2022!

In April, Ahmad published The Return of Faraz Ali (Riverhead), the tale of a police officer sent back to his birthplace in Lahore to hush up a girl's murder. A front cover review in the New York Times Book Review described it as a "quietly stunning debut novel . . . stunning not only on account of the writer’s talent, of which there is clearly plenty, but also in its humanity, in how a book this unflinching in its depiction of class and institutional injustice can still feel so tender."

In August, Giddings published The Women Could Fly (Amistad), a novel about the bond between a young woman and her absent mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored. Referencing The Handmaid’s Tale, the LA Times noted: "The Women Could Fly is a soft boil of violences against women’s bodies, sure—but mostly a simmering of the mind. It is unrushed in building and deconstructing complex themes, revolving mainly around what it can mean to be a woman in patriarchal societies on the hunt for 'devils' that could be you. . . . Giddings writes with wisdom, grace and a skilled hand."

Ahmad holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Her short fiction has appeared in several journals, as well as the anthology And the World Changed. Her play The Dishonored was produced by Kali and toured the UK in 2016. She has received a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award.

Giddings' debut novel Lakewood (Amistad) was a Best Book of 2020 at New York Magazine and NPR, nominee for two NAACP Image Awards, and finalist for the 2020 LA Times Book Prize's Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction. An essay of hers appears in The Lonely Stories, edited by Natalie Eve Garrett (Catapult, 2022). In 2018, she was a recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial fund grant for feminist fiction. She holds an MFA from Indiana University-Bloomington.

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