Uzma Jalaluddin is Canadian writer who’s going places. The high school teacher/Toronto Star parenting columnist recently took on another job title: author. Her first novel, Ayesha At Last, has become the must-read book of the summer. The delightful story is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but instead of being about white British people from the 19th century, it’s centred around a community of South Asian-Canadians living in Scarborough today.
Ayesha At Last is both hilarious and relatable. Her protagonist, twenty-seven-year-old Ayesha, is a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet trying to manage her career as a teacher with her aspirations of becoming a poet. She’s far too busy to fall in love, but when she meets Khalid, her handsome new neighbour, sparks fly. The only problem is that she and Khalid don’t always see eye-to-eye. Can these contemporary Canadian incarnations of the iconic Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet resolve their differences in time for a happy ending? Well, pick up a copy at your local bookstore or library and find out! We wouldn’t want to spoil the ending of the summer’s most delicious new read!
We sat down Jalaluddin to talk about Ayesha At Last, the importance of diversity in popular culture, and her advice for fledgling authors.