; born 12 January 1993) is an English singer and songwriter.In 2010, Malik auditioned as a solo artist for the British reality television music competition The X Factor. ‘I’ll gag on my biscuit.’ ‘It’d give a fascinating insight into modern Muslim dating and marriage.’ I sighed.
I thought, ‘What about all those women that actually choose to live this pretty sedate life?
’ That’s part of the strength of a lot of the characters: they know what they want.” Malik hopes that books like hers will continue to increase relatable portrayals of Muslims in popular culture.
“Before I started writing I knew that it was going to be a ‘clean’ book, because it has a Muslim protagonist, and the one thing I did not want was her ripping off her hijab and finding herself by going drinking and sleeping with people.
That’s not because it’s not a reality – it happens all the time – but because it’s shown so much that I was very bored of it.
“It’s partly that, but it’s also just this real discomfort and annoyance that there is so much of this othering of Muslims: ‘Who are they and what do they really think? ’ “Part of the fun of writing the book was just that it was telling people about a very normal Muslim existence and how these bigger issues filter into your life, but they’re not actually that big a part of it.
’ There’s this feeling in the papers and in the media that you don’t actually know who you’re speaking to when you’re speaking to a Muslim. The day-to-day living of being a Muslim is just like anyone else’s.” The book centres around Sofia’s decision to leave her boyfriend Imran after he expects her to move in with his parents, and her search for a new man, but also spends a lot of time considering the romances of her Muslim friends and family: her sister’s traditional engagement, her friend Suj’s relationship with Charles, a black man, and her friend Hannah’s decision to enter a polygamous relationship as a second wife.
’ Subconsciously, maybe that filtered into the book.
But it was important to Malik to focus on this particular romantic experience.
’ “It’s quite commercial fiction, yet without the normal bits of the whole dating scene included,” Malik admits. “I didn’t have them personally, but having worked in the publishing industry I know there’s a certain expectation.
I do once remember in passing, someone at Random House saying, ‘Oh yeah, if you could just put a bit more sex in it!
In March 2015, Malik's representative announced the singer's departure from the band.