The Roles We Play by Sabba Khan

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‘One of the true rising stars of UK indie comics…combining moments of quieter symbolism with compelling visual metaphor.’—Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

‘Where is home, Mum?’

Two-thirds of today’s British Pakistani diaspora trace their origins back to Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, a district that saw mass displacement and migration when it was submerged by the waters of a dam built after Partition. Sabba Khan’s debut graphic memoir explores what identity, belonging and memory mean for her and her family against the backdrop of this history. She paints a vivid snapshot of contemporary British Asian life and investigates the complex shifts experienced by different generations within migrant communities. 

Khan’s eloquent minimal style and architectural page design illuminates her experiences of growing up as a second generation Azad Kashmiri migrant in East London. Issues of race, gender and class are brought to the forefront in a simple and personal narrative. The title of the book nods to the questions Khan explores: can religion and secularism, tradition and trend, heritage and progression move beyond a limited binary definition and toward a common space of love and understanding, and ultimately toward a pluralistic approach?

The Roles We Play was shortlisted for the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition 2018.