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Sabaa Tahir

As long as you fight the darkness; you stand in the light. - Sabaa Tahir

Sabaa Tahir is a Pakistani-American novelist, who is best known for her New York Times and International bestselling series, An Ember in the Ashes

Born in London in 1983, then moving to the Mojave Desert in California, she was raised in her family’s 18-room motel. Growing up, Sabaa did not feel like she fit in, so she turned to reading fantasy novels and comics to deal with that feeling. This is what sparked her interest in the fantasy genre, eventually leading her to write a fantasy novel of her own.

At the ripe age of 17, she left the desert to attend University at UCLA. Eventually she graduated and secured a job at the Washington Post, where she wrote and edited articles. While working as a copyeditor, she constantly read about people who were going through terrible things. People who were surviving false imprisonment and child soldiers and war and military occupation. The injustice of the stories resonated with her, leading her to create a world in which the oppressed could fight back. "I realized I wanted to write a story about people who felt sort of like I did as a kid — they feel like they don't belong, and they feel like they have no voice, and they feel like they have no power." This is what led to the origin of her bestseller, An Ember in the Ashes

Tahir said the novel was inspired by her desire to "capture the violence of our world and our history, and juxtapose it with characters who find hope, who search for freedom and love even when society wants to crush them."

To provide some insight into the mind of a solider and one of the story’s main protagonists, Elias, a tortured warrior, Sabaa conducted interviews with West Point cadets, FBI agents, veteran soldiers and police officers.

Sabaa currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Fun facts

  • Sabaa's favourite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
  • She loves music and it is her key inspiration. She also makes a lot of playlists!
  • Her parents wanted her to be a doctor.
  • She sold her book rights to a movie production company for 7-figures before her book was published.
  • In book 3, A Reaper at the Gates, she named one of the character’s after two of her biggest real-life fans, Brittany and Audrey – Aubarit.

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