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Acclaimed author in Steamboat for community talk at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Ausma Zehanat Kahn will be in Steamboat on Monday to talk about her new book "The Language of Secrets" which is about a local terrorist cell in Toronto.
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If You Go

What: Library Author Series presents Ausma Zehanat Khan

When: 7 p.m. Monday, June, 13

Where: Library Hall, Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

— Nationally acclaimed author, activist and speaker Ausma Zehanat Khan once struggled with how best to tell the important, yet widely forgotten, events of the Bosnian genocide.

“I want to act as an ambassador,” she said, “and one way I can do that is in opening up dialogue.”

After spending 12 years pursuing post-secondary degrees, Khan’s education shapes the stories she tells. Inspired by her Ph.D. dissertation on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, her first novel, “The Unquiet Dead,” was centered on the war in Bosnia, a historically harrowing event.



On Monday, Khan will host a talk about her second book, “The Language of Secrets,” which was released in February, as part of Bud Werner Memorial Library’s Author Series.

Adult programs coordinator, Jennie Lay said Khan hit the literary world running.



“We thought she was amazing, and she was a new author to us,” Lay said. “Her first book, ‘Unquiet Dead,’ is a detective mystery but definitely bends the boundaries of the genre.”

These stories are much more than their fictional narrative; they expose major issues and world events that are often not talked about.

Born in Britain but raised primarily in Toronto, Canada, Khan now lives in Denver.

In 2006, a Canadian-based media company hired Khan as editor-in-chief of the magazine, “Muslim Girl.” Targeted to reach Muslim teenagers and young women who were born and raised in the West, the magazine served as a voice for stories not typically published in mainstream media, including first-person narratives.

“I am always trying to bring marginalized voices to the forefront.” Khan said. “I, myself, am a practicing Muslim woman who has seen an increasingly hostile rhetoric about my community.”

Khan’s novels allow readers to explore the question of understanding others.

“Although activism efforts can be difficult, I wants to engage these issues instead of turning away from them,” Khan said.

Khan will speak about her second novel, “The Language of Secrets,” which follows original characters — detectives Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak — as they investigate another politically sensitive case regarding a local terrorist cell.

The event is free and begins at 7 p.m. in Library Hall.

“I like to hear feedback from my readers, and I like that people can ask me questions,” Khan said. “I view it as an opportunity to build bridges and can get really inspired by people and the incredibly diverse world we live in.”


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