Kia Abdullah

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Kia Abdullah
Abdullah in July 2009
Native name শহীদা নেসসা রহমান
Born (1982-05-17) 17 May 1982 (age 34)
Tower Hamlets, London, England
Occupation Novelist, writer, columnist
Language English
Nationality British
Ethnicity Bengali
Education BSc Computer science
Alma mater Queen Mary University of London
Years active 2006–present
Partner Peter Watson

Kia Abdullah (born 17 May 1982) is a British novelist and travel writer. She has written two novels: Life, Love and Assimilation (Adlibbed, 2006)[1] and Child's Play (Revenge Ink, 2009)[2] and has contributed to The Guardian,[3] BBC,[4] Lonely Planet[5][6] and Rough Guides.[7]


Abdullah is of Bangladeshi descent and was born and brought up in the London borough of Tower Hamlets in a family of eight children.[8] Of her childhood, Abdullah has said: "[People] imagine poverty and misery, hardship and hand-me-downs. Of course I forfeited my fair share of material pleasures but a household of noise and colour is far better than possessions and privilege."[9]


Abdullah was educated in England. She graduated from Queen Mary, University of London with a first class in BSc Computer Science. Her final year thesis was titled A Program Slicing Tool for Analysing Java Programs.[10] Abdullah has an IQ of 150.[11] She was a member of Mensa International, a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile of IQ, but left within a year of joining. Given her educational choices, Abdullah has described herself as a ‘nerd by default’.[12]


In 2006, Abdullah published her first novel "Life, Love and Assimilation", which drew comparisons with Monica Ali's Brick Lane.[13] The novel was also criticised by the Bangladeshi community, including members of Abdullah's own family for its candid portrayal of drugs and sex in east London.[8]

In 2009, Abdullah published her second novel, a psychological crime thriller called "Child's Play". Unlike her first novel, her second enjoyed a warm reception from the community despite also including several scenes of a sexual nature.

During this time, Abdullah wrote on a range of topics from politics to relationships for the Guardian newspaper.[3] She has spoken out on a range of subjects, from drug abuse[14] and gender inequality[4] to dealing with culture and identity as a British-Asian writer.[15][16] Her article on honour killings was nominated for a Muslim Writers Award.[17]

As Features Editor at Asian Woman magazine, Abdullah interviewed a range of prominent Asian actors and musicians including Jay Sean, Meera Syal, Nitin Sawhney and Anoushka Shankar. She is an occasional guest on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine Show as well as BBC Asian Network's DJ Nihal show.

Abdullah also works as a travel writer and has contributed to Lonely Planet[5] and Rough Guides[7] online and Asian Woman magazine in print. She is currently editor at outdoor travel site Atlas & Boots.[18] She has spoken about her travels on television,[19] radio,[20] print[21] and online.[22][23]

Personal life[edit]

Abdullah is in a relationship with British travel photographer Peter Watson.[24] Between her travels for Atlas & Boots, she resides in east London.


Year Title Publisher ISBN
2006 Life, Love and Assimilation Adlibbed Ltd ISBN 978-1-8973-1200-1
2009 Child's Play Revenge Ink ISBN 978-0-9558-0785-5


  1. ^ "Life, Love and Assimilation". 17 May 2006. Retrieved 11 May 2006. 
  2. ^ "Child's Play". 4 December 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Kia Abdullah". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Kia Abdullah". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  5. ^ a b Planet, Lonely (2016-03-02). "Best places to travel in June 2016 - Lonely Planet". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  6. ^ Planet, Lonely (2016-05-10). "Best places to travel in August 2016 - Lonely Planet". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  7. ^ a b "Travel Features by Kia | Rough Guides". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  8. ^ a b "About | Kia Abdullah". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  9. ^ The Bengali East End: Histories of life and work in Tower Hamlets. 
  10. ^ A Program Slicing Tool for Analysing Java Programs. 
  11. ^ "Is joining Mensa a smart move?". The Guardian. 2010-05-31. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  12. ^ O'Connor, Stuart (2008-04-18). "It's a bunch of gadgets in one". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  13. ^ "Vaani: "Launch of VAANI"". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  14. ^ "British Bangladeshis battle against drugs". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  15. ^ "Writing Wrongs" (PDF). Asiana magazine. 
  16. ^ "Kia Abdullah on writing Child's Play – The Asian Writer". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  17. ^ "Museum of Awards – 2009 | Young Muslim Writers Awards". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  18. ^ "About | Atlas & Boots". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  19. ^ Atlas & Boots (2016-01-22), Atlas and Boots interview on London Live, retrieved 2016-08-12 
  20. ^ Graeme Kemlo Speaks To Adventure Travellers Kia Abdullah And Peter Watson, retrieved 2016-08-12 
  21. ^ "Get Lost magazine" (PDF). 
  22. ^ "Peter & Kia | Hero and Leander". 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  23. ^ "Coffee Chats with Kia Abdullah". Retrieved 2016-08-12. 
  24. ^ "Introducing Atlas & Boots | Royal Robbins Blog". 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2016-08-12. 

External links[edit]