Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion Book Launch: Conversation & Celebration

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Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion Book Launch: Conversation & Celebration

Join us for an in-person event with award-winning novelist, Bushra Rehman, for the release of her new book Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion.

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Strand Book Store 828 Broadway 3rd Floor, Rare Book Room New York, NY 10003

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About this event

This event is co-presented by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Strand, with sponsors Asian/Pacific/American (A/P/A) Institute at NYU and South Asian Womxn's Creative Collective.

Bushra Rehman discusses her new novel Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion, with Rajiv Mohabir, author of Antiman. Punctuated by both joy and loss, full of ’80s music and beloved novels, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is an unforgettable story about female friendship and queer desire in a Pakistani-American community in Queens. DJ Rekha will play an intro and closing set at the event. This event will be hosted in the Strand Book Store's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at 828 Broadway on 12th Street.

Can’t make the event? Purchase a signed copy of Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion here.


All patrons may be required to provide proof of vaccination and/or wear a mask *per the author’s discretion.

*Proof of vaccination will be defined as either an original vaccination card, Excelsior Pass or its equivalent. We will be checking to ensure compliance with the 14 day waiting period post-vaccination.

Registration will be required online. No tickets for entry will be sold at the door.


Razia Mirza grows up amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, with her best friend, Saima, by her side. When a family rift drives the girls apart, Razia’s heart is broken. She finds solace in Taslima, a new girl in the neighborhood. They embark on a series of small rebellions: listening to scandalous music, wearing mini skirts, and cutting school to explore the city.

When Razia is accepted to Stuyvesant, a prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between her and her world in Queens, between the person she is and the daughter her parents want her to be, widens. At Stuyvesant, Razia meets Angela and is attracted to her in a way that blossoms into a new understanding. When their relationship is discovered, Razia must choose between her family and her own future.

Punctuated by both joy and loss, full of ’80s music and beloved novels, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is a new classic: a fiercely compassionate coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to reconcile her heritage and faith with her desire to be true to herself.

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The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW) is devoted to creating, publishing, developing and disseminating creative writing by Asian Americans, and to providing an alternative literary arts space at the intersection of migration, race, and social justice. Since our founding in 1991, we have been dedicated to the belief that Asian American stories deserve to be told. At a time when migrants, women, people of color, Muslims, and LGBTQ people are specifically targeted, we offer a new countercultural public space in which to imagine a more just future.

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The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University was established in 1996 in response to student interest combined with the University’s commitment to global excellence. It provides a space in which research and public programs, with a focus on community and intercultural studies, are made accessible to faculty, students, and the New York community within a broad, rigorous international and comparative framework.

The A/P/A Institute at NYU produces programming, publications, exhibitions, new research, and a long-running artist-in-residence program, attracting leading academics and practitioners. The Institute's multiple archival collection initiatives have also continued to build a foundation of, and preservation and access to, important historical documents and previously overlooked materials for present and future researchers and students.

Located in NoHo, the Institute serves the community highlighting research, cultural production, and scholarship on contemporary issues facing Asian/Pacific American communities, and provides a nexus for scholars, community leaders, and artists who are working on advancing scholarship in the field and bringing theory into practice.

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The South Asian Womxn’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) has served South Asian womxn since 1997 and has earned a reputation for showcasing cutting-edge work that deals intelligently with issues of gender and cultural representation.

Our public programs present the creative work of South Asian womxn in multiple disciplines through salons, talks, workshops, readings, screenings, performances, and exhibitions.

SAWCC connects womxn of South Asian descent with links to various communities and encourages their growth as artists by providing a platform to exchange ideas and feedback on their creative work and network with other South Asian womxn artists, educators, community workers, and professionals.

Members include those who identify as South Asian women, femmes, queer, trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people.

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Bushra Rehman grew up in Corona, Queens but her mother says she was born in an ambulance flying through the streets of Brooklyn. This might explain a few things. Bushra was a vagabond poet who traveled for years with nothing more than a Greyhound ticket and a book bag full of poems. She is co-editor of the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism and author of the poetry collection, Marianna’s Beauty Salon, which was described by Joseph O. Legaspi as “a love poem for Muslim girls, Queens, and immigrants making sense of their foreign home--and surviving.” Rehman’s collection of stories, Corona, was chosen by the NY Public Library as one of its favorite books about NYC. Her newest novel, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion, is a modern classic about what it means to be Muslim and Queer in a Pakistani-American community. She’d like to dedicate this reading to Ben McFall, her literary mentor, and long-time Strand genius-in-residence.

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Rajiv Mohabir is the author of three collections of poetry including Cutlish (Four Way Books 2021) which was awarded the Eric Hoffer Medal Provocateur, longlisted for the 2022 PEN/Voelcker Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Books Award. He also authored the memoir Antiman (Restless Books 2021) winner of the Forward Indies Award for LGBTQ+ Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the 2022 PEN/America Open Book Award, 2021 Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, and 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography. As a translator, his version of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (Kaya 2019) won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2020. He teaches in the MFA program at Emerson College and lives in the Boston area.

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DJ Rekha pioneered the merging of Bhangra and Bollywood sounds with contemporary electronic dance music. Rooted in hip-hop and dub, their DJ sets range from Brazilian Baile Funk to Balkan Beats and everything in between. They founded Basement Bhangra, one of NYC’s longest-running club nights. Their debut album "DJ Rekha presents Basement Bhangra" (featuring a track with Wyclef Jean) won much critical acclaim and was nominated for best DJ album by the 2008 Plug Awards. They were named "Ambassador of Bhangra" by the New York Times and just produced Basement Bhangra's 25TH Encore at Central Park's Summerstage in August of 2022.