It Begins With The Body by Hana Shafi explores the milestones and hurdles of a brown girl coming into her own. Shafi’s poems display a raw and frank intimacy and address anxiety, unemployment, heartbreak, relationships, identity, and faith.
Accompanied by Shafi’s candid illustrations that share the same delightful mixture of grotesque and humour found in her poems, It Begins With The Body navigates the highs and lows of youth. It is about feeling like an outsider, and reconciling with pain and awkwardness. It’s about arguing with your mum about wanting to wax off your unibrow to the first time you threw up in a bar in your twenties, and everything in between. Funny and raw, personal and honest, Shafi’s exciting debut is about finding the right words you wished you had found when you needed them the most.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for It Begins With The Body:
“Hana Shafi’s work is a sigh of relief for the queer Muslim brown kid I was, and the queer Muslim brown adult I know am. It’s the act of visibility, of being seen through the words on a page that are so life affirming. I feel grateful that I’m of a time where art like this is being made. It’s relatable, it’s a delight.”
—Fariha Róisín, co-host of Two Brown Girls, a podcast
“This book is the anthem of my youth.”
—Alysha Brilla, Juno Award nominated musician and songwriter
“In It Begins With The Body, Hana Shafi writes with a powerful and devastating honesty about the things women are told they ought not talk about. From body hair and financial angst to heartbreak and self-doubt, Shafi examines all the expectations society places on women—and pushes back against these outrages with a voice that is both vulnerable and damning. A brilliant and incisive book, full of rage and love in all the places where you need it to be.” —Lauren McKeon, author of F-Bomb, Dispatches from the War on Feminism
The Best Canadian Poetry of 2018 —CBC Books
15 Canadian Collections of Poetry to Watch for this Fall —CBC Books
Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2018 Poetry Preview —49th Shelf
Healing Is Not Linear: We Chatted With Artist & Writer Hana Shafi About Her New Book, It Begins With The Body —She Does the City
The Dirty Dozen with Hana Shafi —Open Book
Beautiful Books: It Begins with the Body —All Lit Up
Coming-of-Age through Poetry and Art: An Interview with Hana Shafi —Sanchari Sur, Invisiblog
Poetry Mini Interview with Hana Shafi, Part 1 —Poetry Mini Interviews
The List: The top 100 Titles Recommended by the Toronto Public Library’s Youth Selection Committee —Toronto Public Library
“Shafi simply and effectively verbalizes the emotional depths of important friendships, exploring how a platonic relationship can be more profound than a romantic one. Shafi’s work invites the reader to laugh, get angry, feel empowered, and manage everyday difficulties with blunt irony.” —Isabelle Vogel, Broken Pencil
The Hamilton Review of Books’ Independently Published Bestsellers List: July 2023 —The Hamilton Review of Books
Hana Shafi is a writer and artist who illustrates under the name Frizz Kid. Both her visual art and writing frequently explore themes such as feminism, body politics, racism, and pop culture with an affinity to horror. A graduate of Ryerson University’s Journalism Program, she has published articles in publications such as The Walrus, Hazlitt, This Magazine, Torontoist, Huffington Post, and has been featured on Buzzfeed India, Buzzfeed Canada, CBC, Flare Magazine, Mashable, and Shameless, Known on Instagram for her weekly affirmation series, she is also the recipient of the Women Who Inspire Award, from the Canadian Council for Muslim Women. Born in Dubai, Shafi’s family immigrated to Mississauga, Ontario in 1996, and she currently lives and works in Toronto. It Begins With The Body is her first book.