About Me

Short:  Soniah Kamal is an award winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. Her recent novel, Unmarriageable, is a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, a 2019 Book All Georgians Should Read, and shortlisted for the 2020 Townsend Prize for Fiction. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the KLF French Fiction Prize and the Townsend Prize for Fiction. Soniah’s TEDx talk is about second chances and ‘We are the Ink’, her  U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony address, is about  immigrants and the American Dream. Her work is in the New York Times, Guardian, Buzzfeed, Catapult, Normal School, Georgia Review and more.   twitter & instagram: @soniahkamal

Long: Soniah Kamal is an award winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. Her most recent novel, Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan, is a  a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, a New York Public Library, a NPR Code Switch 2019 Summer Read Pick, a Georgia Center for the Book’s 2019 pick for ‘Books All  Georgians Should Read,’ shortlisted for the 2020  Townsend Award for Fiction, an Amazon Best Books Pick, a Library Reads Pick, a People Magazine Pick and more. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Award for Fiction and the KLF French Fiction Prize. Soniah’s TEDx talk is about second chances and ‘We are the Ink’, her U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony address, is about  immigrants and the American Dream.  Soniah’s Pushcart nominated work has appeared in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed and more.

Jane Austen Bio: Soniah is a life time member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). She is a Featured Plenary Panelist at 2020 JASNA AGM. Soniah is the 2020 Keynote Speaker at the Jane Austen Festival held by JASNA Louisville Kentucky. Soniah hosted the year long Jane Austen 200th Anniversary Commemoration Book Club for all six Austen novels and wrote about it in Pride and Possibilities. She was Chief Guest at the 2019 JASNA Northern California Jane Austen Birthday Gala and delivered the Jane Austen Birthday Toast. Soniah has served as a Jane Austen Literacy Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. Austenprose declared Unmarriageable ‘a dream retelling’ and the Jane Austen Center called it ‘a wonderful experience’. Guggenheim awardee Professor Devoney Looser of The Making of Jane Austen says Unmarriageable is a ‘a brilliant fictional homage to Pride and Prejudice’. While Soniah adores Pride and Prejudice, her favorite Austen novel is Mansfield Park.  Onscreen she loves the 1995 BBC ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Emma Thomson’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’, Whit Stillman’s ‘Love and Friendship’ adapted from Lady Susan, and ITV’s time travelling ‘Lost in Austen’.

Soniah’s short story “Fossils”, judged by Claudia Rankine, won the Agnes Scott 2017 Festival Award for Fiction and her story ‘Jelly Beans’ was selected for The Best Asian Stories Series 2017. Her essay ‘The Fall: How to Survive Your Father’s Imprisonment’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her short stories and essays have been shortlisted for awards including the Sequestrum Editor’s Reprint Award and the Payton James Freeman Prize and are recommended reads by VELA and Longreads.  Soniah is the recipient of the Susan B. Irene Award from St. Johns College where she graduated with a BA Honors in Liberal Arts. She was awarded a Paul Bowles Fiction Fellowship from Georgia State University where she earned an MFA in Creative Writing.  Soniah is a member of the National Books Critics Circle and PEN America and the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Soniah has taught creative writing and global literature at Emory University, Oglethorpe University and is faculty at Reinhardt University. She has served as Writer-in-Residence for the Fulton County Library System and is a repeat mentor for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.  Soniah was a script consultant on the social-activist film ‘Half Widow’ set in Kashmir. Her spin off novella, Rafeeq and the Half Child’ from An Isolated Incident has been optioned by Renzu films. Hairy Potter is a collection of Soniah’s weekly social satire column that ran in Pakistan’s national newspaper The Daily Times Sunday. ‘ She served as Fiction Assistant Editor for Five Points: A Journal of Arts and Literature and is Blog Editor for Jaggery: A Desilit Arts and Literature Journal where she founded the interview series ‘Drunk on Ink’. Soniah curated and edited Sugar Mule Literary Magazine’s South Asian issue ‘No Place Like Home’, a compilation of memoir, poetry and fiction from 47 writers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Soniah was born in Pakistan, grew up in England and Saudi Arabia, and lives in the U.S., New Mexico, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, California and currently in Georgia.

Praise for Unmarriageable

Publishers Weekly Starred Review.

Library Journal Starred Review.

Shelf Awareness Starred Review

A 2019 Book All Georgians Should Read

Amazon Best Books Pick

New York Post Best Book Pick

Library Reads Pick

Bustle Anticipated Read

She Reads Anticipated Read

NPR  “deliciously readable… Unmarriageable manages to be both a fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.

Star Tribune  “Kamal does in words what Gurinder Chadha did in film with Bride and Prejudice.”

People Magazine  “This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms.

Atlanta Journal Constitution  “Kamal’s resplendent second novel embraces and builds upon its predecessor in such a fresh way that a new class of “P&P” lovers will likely be born”.

New York Post  “a thoroughly charming retelling”.

New York Journal of Books “a witty delight that will leave you wishing for more”

Asian Image  “A Must Read. This sumptuous book is refreshingly relatable to Asian women today.”

Austenprose  “the Pride and Prejudice retelling of my dreams”.

Forbes “Kamal’s story seems to have all the ingredients that make Pride and Prejudice’s re-telling an exciting, dramatic and fun South Asian adaptation complete with big, fat desi weddings, modern Pakistani women, affluent bachelors.”  

For more Praise go to the section on Unmarriageable’s Book Page