We Are One! Wrapping Up Our First Year, Featuring Fatima Farheen Mirza and You


We’re wrapping up a red-letter week for Novella. Not only did we welcome Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of the extraordinary novel “A Place For Us,” at our October salon, we also celebrated our very first birthday party with all of you. Read on for the highlights.

“Writing is the only way I know to explore what it means to be alive.” — Fatima Farheen Mirza


Founder + CEO Abby Adesanya (Photo: Erica Westley

Founder + CEO Abby Adesanya (Photo: Erica Westley

Tradition: The Recap

Leeann DelHoyo Duggan

It’s sunny and 44 in Brooklyn — a fine day to pull on a fleece, zip it all the way up to your chin, and pull your palms inside the sleeves. If you don’t have a fleece, we’re happy to share the cozy vibes we’re still floating on as we wrap up our month of Firsts. (Also get a fleece, they’re the best.)

On Tuesday, Novella celebrated its 1st birthday party! A hundred of our nearest and dearest came out to toast a year of women sharing their stories with food from Dig Inn, cocktails from Pomp & Whimsy, tarot readings, and some sick giveaways courtesy of our friends at AWAY and The Hoxton (congrats Ingrid!).

The highlight of the night was founder Abby Adesanya taking the mic to read the piece she wrote for Novella’s very first salon. It combined memories of her first relaxer, and the teacher who first nurtured her writing talent (bless you, Miss Jumper!). More than a few of you were blinking back tears, but don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me. Thank you to everyone who bought tickets and supported us. It was truly the most lit first-birthday party ever!

Photo: Erica Westley

Photo: Erica Westley

On Wednesday, it was salon time. We gathered at the light-filled LIVELY store to talk about what “Tradition” means to us. Not surprisingly, it got deep. After welcoming faces new and old over wine from Winc and salads from Sweetgreen, we split into groups to read our pieces about the nicknames our families gave us, the Hebrew teacher that shaped us, and the terrifying moment when you tell your parents for the first time that you’re not coming home for Thanksgiving.


Then, author Fatima Farheen Mirza stopped the room’s collective heart with a reading from her novel “A Place For Us” about the traditions and hopes that bind a Muslim American family, and the betrayals that splinter it.

In her Q+A with Abby, Fatima spoke about surprising herself the first time she wrote about a Muslim character, her choice to write this novel from the perspective of all the family members, and the desire that all her characters have in common, despite their differences: “The need, and the struggle to do right by your loved ones.”


Thank you to all who came out and supported Novella this week, and this past year. Some of you even turned out for BOTH events — we see the support, and the stamina. Everyone get some sleep and we can’t wait to see you again next month.


Leeann DelHoyo Duggan