Uzma Jalaluddin

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Uzma Jalaluddin
Nationality Canadian
Occupation writer, teacher
Known for film rights for her first novel were acquired within months of its publication

Uzma Jalaluddin is a Canadian writer, celebrated for the successful debut of her first novel, Ayesha at last, which has been favourably compared with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.[1][2]

Jaluluddin writes a column for the Toronto Star.[2][3] She is also a high school teacher, an occupation she shares with the protagonist of her first novel. During an interview, fellow novelist Ausma Zehanat Khan described her writing circle, the Sisterhood of the Pen, that include Jalaluddin and S.K. Ali.[4]

Jalaluddin described loving reading, and always wanting to write, but finding it hard to find novels about people who looked like her, and deciding to write a novel about people who looked like her.[5] Jalaluddin started the novel while pregnant with her son Ibrahim, shelved it, then dusted it off, and finished it, after telling seven-year-old Ibrahim about it.

The popularity of the highly successful film Crazy Rich Asians, earlier in 2018, is said to have triggered a greater interest in Hollywood acquiring other novels from writers with an Asian background.[6][7][8] Film rights were acquired by Amy Pascal's production company, Pascal Pictures, which produced the 2016 Ghostbusters, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Post and Molly's Game.[9] Pascal Pictures acquired the rights in August, 2018, less than four months after the novel's Canadian and UK debut.

Awards nominations

Ayesha at last was one of ten titles under consideration for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.[10]

In May, 2019, Ayesha at last was one of six books short-listed for a Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.[11]

Reviews of Ayesha at last

On April 8, 2019, Asian Images wrote "This version of the well-loved novel is innovative, relevant and so very relatable."[12]

On April 11, 2019, The Sydney Morning Herald described the novel as a "positive, optimistic, generous-hearted take on a multicultural world."[13]


































  1. 1.0 1.1 Piali Roy. "Ayesha at last". Quill and Quire. Retrieved 2018-09-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chelby Daigle (2018-07-09). "Muslim Canadian Novelist Uzma Jalaluddin will be in Ottawa This Wednesday". Muslim Link. Retrieved 2018-09-26. "Uzma Jalaluddin, a high school teacher, writes Samosas and Maple Syrup, a regular column about modern Muslim life for the Toronto Star. She’s also been a guest on the TV show Cityline, speaking on the Muslim experience." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ryan B. Patrick (2018-06-28). "Uzma Jalaluddin's novel Ayesha At Last subverts Muslim stereotypes in its look at romantic love". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-09-26. "One of the biggest things that happened in my life was I had a great opportunity to write a parenting column for the Toronto Star. What that did was give me the discipline of deadlines. I had to write a new 700 word column every two weeks — it had to be edited, polished and ready for publication." 
  4. Nick Douglas (2018-11-28). "I'm Novelist Ausma Zehanat Khan, and This Is How I Work". Life Hacker. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "I also have a little writing circle. We jokingly call ourselves the Sisterhood of the Pen. (We’ve also tried out the name #blahblahplot). Uzma Jalaluddin and S. K. Ali share useful career advice, Uzma reads my work as I go along and helps me figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and we just generally enjoy each other’s company and love chatting about writing." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Uzma Jalaluddin (2018-06-06). "Climbing the mountain, becoming a writer". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-09-24. "My first attempt at writing was a picture book titled Icy Water’s Bad Day. It was about the life cycle of an ice cube. By the end of the book, Icy Water is melting in someone’s stomach, so actually it may have been a dark comedy about existential despair. I wrote it when I was 8, so I can’t be certain." 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tony Wong (2018-09-08). "Why Canadian authors are hot in Hollywood". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-09-24. "Jalaluddin’s novel has been described as a Muslim take on Pride and Prejudice, as Hollywood looks for the next big racially diverse comedy in the wake of Crazy Rich Asians." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jane van Koeverden (2018-08-28). "Film rights to Uzma Jalaluddin's Ayesha at Last acquired by Pascal Pictures". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-09-24. "The film rights to Uzma Jalaluddin's young adult novel Ayesha at Last have been sold to Pascal Pictures, the production company behind blockbusters like the Ghostbusters reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Post and Molly's Game, Deadline reports." 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chelby Daigle (2018-07-09). ""Crazy Rich Asians" Buzz Gets Muslim Canadian Novel "Ayesha At Last" Acquired by Hollywood Execs". Muslim Link. Retrieved 2018-09-24. "Pascal Pictures, founded by Amy Pascal, has just optioned "Ayesha at Last", a modern Muslim Canadian retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice published by Harper Collins Canada." 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mike Fleming Jr. (2018-08-27). "Pascal Pictures Acquires Uzma Jalaluddin Novel ‘Ayesha At Last’". Deadline magazine. Retrieved 2018-09-24. "The novel was shopped as interest swelled in Crazy Rich Asians, and it was helped by an appetite to tell a fun story focused on historically underrepresented characters." 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Ten finalists for Leacock Medal for Humour revealed". Orillia Matters (Orillia). 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2019-04-24. "The board of directors of the Stephen Leacock Associates announced its 2019 longlist for the 72nd Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour today." 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ryan Porter (2019-05-02). "Tanya Tagaq, Kate Harris, and Uzma Jalaluddin among shortlisted authors for Kobo Emerging Writer Prize". Quill and Quire. Retrieved 2019-05-03. "The winners will be announced at an event in Toronto on June 27. Each winner will receive $10,000 and marketing support." 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Umbreen Ali (2019-04-08). "'Ayesha At Last' by Uzma Jalaluddin". Asian Image. Retrieved 2019-04-24. "In the 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published, it is delightful to see a Muslim version, complete with cross-culture nuances, wit, humour and classic romance." 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Kerryn Goldsworthy (2019-04-11). "Fiction: Ayesha at Last, The Woman of St Germain and two other novels". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-04-24. "The unlikely romance proceeds slowly through various sharp observations about the problems and prejudices encountered by Muslims in the West, including family troubles. As with other clever Austen adaptations, the reader will have fun following the parallels of plot and character" 
  14. Laura Beeston, Jackie Hong (2017-03-08). "Toronto women on the future of feminism". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-09-26. "The way forward is not just to lean in but to lean on each other. Once we realize that (it will) make us feel our voices are heard and empower us. Instead of being exclusionary, now is the time to welcome and celebrate what we all bring to this movement. The idea of not discounting people who don’t look like us or talk like us is so important, especially in Toronto." 
  15. Alexandra Alter (2018-07-07). "The Changing Face of Romance Novels". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-09-26. "The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don’t always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin’s debut novel, “Ayesha at Last,” takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett." 
  16. Sheila Kumar (2019-05-18). "‘Ayesha at Last’ by Uzma Jalaluddin: The Bennet bibis of Toronto". The Hindu. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "The various Austen characters are easily recognisable, the oft-quoted homilies appear flavoured just that bit differently enough to make the reader smile in appreciation." 
  17. Marie Louise McConville (2019-05-18). "Sorry you had to stand Lulu but get used to it, good manners are a thing of the past". Irish News. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin tells the story of Ayesha Shamsi, who has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been overtaken by a demanding teaching job. Her boisterous Muslim family, and numerous (interfering) aunties, are professional naggers. And her flighty young cousin, about to reject her one hundredth marriage proposal, is a constant reminder that Ayesha is still single. Ayesha might be a little lonely, but the one thing she doesn't want is an arranged marriage." 
  18. Ashly July (2019-05-01). "Tanya Tagaq, Kate Harris and Terese Marie Mailhot shortlisted for $10K Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize". CBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "Other shortlisted titles include the memoir Son of a Critch by comedian Mark Critch and Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, which is a finalist in the romance category." 
  19. "Why Uzma Jalaluddin wrote a Muslim, modern-day update of Pride and Prejudice". CBC News. 2018-09-03. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "Set in a tight-knit Muslim community in Toronto, Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel Ayesha at Last is a love story in the vein of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice. Ayesha, a teacher who dreams of being a poet, belongs to a rambunctious family and is surprised when she finds herself attracted to a traditional, conservative young man named Khalid." 
  20. Laura LaVelle (2019-05-01). "On Our Bookshelves – Ayesha at Last". News Whistle. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "This is a terrific book—Uzma Jalaluddin, a high school teacher and newspaper columnist, has knocked it out of the park with her first novel. A love letter to Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, a sweet, touching, and very funny romance, and a clever bit of cultural ambassadorship—Ayesha at Last is a delightful and contemporary spin on the Pride and Prejudice story, set in a Muslim immigrant community in a Toronto suburb." 
  21. Kerryn Goldsworthy (2019-04-11). "Fiction: Ayesha at Last, The Woman of St Germain and two other novels". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "This positive, optimistic, generous-hearted take on a multicultural world in the 21st century is accurately described on the cover as ‘‘a modern, witty Muslim salute to Pride and Prejudice". It says much for Jane Austen that so many variations on her themes are still possible and effective over 200 years after her death, and this is yet another new angle. Ayesha Shamsi, transplanted from India to Canada after her father’s death and now a happy young woman in a boisterous extended family, has little time for the judgmental Khalid, born in Toronto but raised as a conservative Muslim man. The unlikely romance proceeds slowly through various sharp observations about the problems and prejudices encountered by Muslims in the West, including family troubles. As with other" 
  22. "20 books you could give your mom on Mother's Day". CBC News. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "If your mom loves Jane Austen, try Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin." 
  23. Ryan Porter (2019-05-02). "FOLD 2019: Amid education cuts, five writers for young people say public schools need to encourage developing readers". Quill & Quire. Retrieved 2019-05-18. 
  24. Susie Dumond (2019-03-23). "What to read before and after surgery". Book riot. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "Retellings of classic novels are another great choice. If you’ve read the book that inspired a retelling, you probably have a pretty good idea of where it’s headed. For example, Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin is a modern Muslim retelling of Pride and Prejudice." 
  25. Rachel Brittain (2019-03-19). "6 DIVERSE JANE AUSTEN RETELLINGS". Book riot. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "This heartwarming P&P retelling set in the Toronto Muslim community is already getting all sort of buzz–and it’s definitely deserved! Ayesha at Last is coming out in the U.S. soon, but the movie rights have already been snagged, which is telling. So if you want to get on board before this book turns into your next favorite rom-com, go ahead and add this one to your TBR." 
  26. Rachel Brittain (2019-30-27). "6 books to read before they're made into movies". Book riot. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "This modern Pride and Prejudice retelling set in a Toronto Muslim community was optioned for film even before its release in the U.S. (June 4th for anyone wondering)." 
  27. Kamrun Nesa (2019-03-24). "Books dismantle stereotypes, invite debate: Novels prompt discussion about cultural traditions". The Columbian. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "“The Marriage Clock” joins a number of other South Asian novels out this year, including Sharma’s “The Takeover Effect”; a modern-day Pakistani adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” called “Unmarriageable,” by Soniah Kamal; “Ayesha at Last,” by Uzma Jalaluddin — another modern-day “Pride and Prejudice” adaptation; and “The Matchmaker’s List,” by Sonya Lalli. All richly diverse and complex, many of them analyze gender stereotypes, tradition and double standards through the lens of young women pressured by their family and culture to get married." 
  28. "Book Club: Retelling Jane Austen". WGBH-TV. 2019-04-05. Retrieved 2019-05-18. ""Ayesha at Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin and "Unmarriageable" by Soniah Kamal are our April selections for "Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club."" 
  29. E CE Miller (February 2019). "'Pride & Prejudice' Retellings Prove That Jane Austen's Themes Translate Across Cultures". Bustle magazine. Retrieved 2019-05-21. "But while the romantic underpinnings might mirror those of the original novel, the Islamophobia that both characters face, and their disconnect over Islamic fundamentalism, definitely adds a new layer to Jane Austen's foundation" 
  30. Kamrun Nesa (2019-03-11). "Misconceptions about arranged marriage abound. Romance authors are here to help.". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-03-11. Retrieved 2019-05-21. "'The Marriage Clock' joins a number of other South Asian novels out this year, including Sharma’s 'The Takeover Effect'; a modern-day Pakistani adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice' called 'Unmarriageable,' by Soniah Kamal; 'Ayesha at Last,' by Uzma Jalaluddin — another modern-day 'Pride and Prejudice' adaptation; and 'The Matchmaker’s List,' by Sonya Lalli. All richly diverse and complex, many of them analyze gender stereotypes, tradition and double standards through the lens of young women pressured by their family and culture to get married." 
  31. Rachel Brittain (2019-02-15). "Judge a book by its cover: 10 gorgeous cover redesigns". Book riot. Retrieved 2019-05-18. "The recently released U.S. cover for Uzma Jalaluddin’s upcoming modern reimagining of Pride and Prejudice (on the right, available June 4th) and the original Canadian and UK version (on the left) are both lovely. But I’ve gotta say, the bright purple pop of the hijab with that gold background just really catches my attention!" 
  32. Mikaella Clements (2019-02-14). "Eight romance novels that are subverting the genre in 2019". Dazed digital. Retrieved 2019-05-21. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that most years will see at least a couple of Jane Austen rewrites. We’ve had Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2016 novel Eligible, and 1995’s beloved Clueless; there was a brief sweep of monster additions to the Austen canon, and a fair share of erotica. This year, I’ve already counted three upcoming novels that retell Pride and Prejudice alone, but my favourite of the bunch is Umza Jalaluddin's Ayesha At Last, a charming, heartwarming update of the story that stays true to Austen’s feeling for community, family and begrudging attraction." 
  33. "14 Canadian books to read on Valentine's Day". CBC News. 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-05-21. "Ayesha At Last, Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, tells the story of a young Muslim woman who aspires to be a poet, but must balance what her family expects of her with what she wants for herself. Things get tricky when she falls for Khalid, a young conservative man who is set to marry someone else. Ayesha At Last is a fun, contemporary twist on Jane Austen's classic Pride & Prejudice." 

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  9. Lakshmi Gandhi (2018-10-17). "Why South Asian Authors Continue to be Inspired by Jane Austen". The Teal Mango. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "One of the most anticipated novels of 2019 is “Ayesha at Last” by Pakistani-Canadian author Uzma Jalaluddin. Already released in Canada, the book centers on Ayesha Shamsi, an unconventional young woman in the middle of a loud and boistrous South Asian family." 
  10. Will Sloan (2018-06-11). "An evening with Alan Cumming, a creepy crawly ROM show and five other things to see, hear, read and do this week". Toronto Life magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "It’s an uproarious romp, filled with farcical cases of mistaken identity, disastrous proposals and a big Bollywood wedding." 
  11. "The scoop on summer reads: the 46 coolest books of the season". The Globe and Mail. 2018-06-15. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "Come for Darcy reimagined as a hyper-conservative young man and Elizabeth Bennet as a wannabe poet frustrated by family obligation; stay for Uzma Jalaluddin’s warm portrait of life for twentysomething Muslims in suburban Toronto struggling to honour their heritage while pursuing their dreams" 
  12. Kate Gardner (2018-08-27). "Things We Saw Today: Amy Pascal Options A Modern Re-Telling of Pride and Prejudice With Muslim Leads". The Mary Sue. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "In the wake of Crazy Rich Asians decimating box office records, Amy Pascal’s Pascal Pictures has optioned the rights to Ayesha At Last, a novel by Uzma Jalaluddin" 
  13. Carol Mann (2017-07-13). "Global hijabista style, from the Afghan burqa to the cover of a fashion magazine". Catchnews. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "Uzma Jalaluddin models a hijab style which she calls the triangle hijab. (Photo: Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images)" 
  14. Chelby Diagle (2018-08-28). "Uzma Jalaluddin's "Ayesha at Last" bought by major Hollywood production company.". Muslimlink. Retrieved 2018-10-25. 
  15. Uzma Jalaluddin (2018-10-18). "Success is more complicated than I ever realized". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2018-10-25. "Sometimes I wake up at dawn and write. Sometimes I run around last minute because I’m late for everything. Some weeks, I feel like I can do this, wear all the hats all the time. Other times, I catch a stress cold and want to run away somewhere warm, like my furnace room. I know I have high expectations for myself, the kind that are hard to reach, which means that I also have to forgive myself when I fall short." 

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