A KEIGHLEY woman has drawn on her family history to write a novel set amidst the turbulent creation of Bangladesh.

Shahnaz Ahsan wanted to highlight the bravery of people like her grandparents who settled in England during the 1960s.

Shahnaz has been described as an "extraordinary new talent" by leading publisher John Murray in advance of the release of her debut novel Hashim & Family.

The book has been chosen as the lead fiction debut for 2020 by the London-based publisher, whose authors regularly win top literary prizes.

Shahnaz wrote the novel after winning awards for her short stories and writing a full-length film screenplay entitled Laila, that was set in Keighley.

Hashim & Family is a tale of family, migration and the desire for a homeland, and a bond of kinship spanning 20 years and two countries.

It focuses on the Bangladeshi community in England, and tells the story of two cousins who arrive in England in the 1960s from Bangladesh and try and start a new life for themselves.

However, when the war of independence breaks out in their home country of Bangladesh, they are forced to decide where their true home really lies.

Shahnaz, who grew up in Keighley but now lives in London, said her grandparents were the bravest people she had ever known.

She said: "Leaving behind the only home they had ever known, they travelled thousands of miles to Britain to start a new life. Hashim & Family is a story of their generation: their sacrifices and their struggles.

"I wrote this book because I was tired of browsing shelves in bookshops and not finding any stories that reflected my heritage, my family's history, which has so much in common with the experiences of other migrant families.

"In the current climate of hostility towards migrants in the West, it is crucial that the stories of these families are told and celebrated. We have a right to be in Britain.

"The political conversation about immigration cannot be had without acknowledging the reasons for that migration – colonisation and empire – and the human experience of those things."

Shahnaz's story begins on New Year's Eve 1960, when Hashim leaves behind his homeland and his bride Munira to seek his fortune in England.

His cousin and only friend, Rofikul, introduce sees Hashim to live in Manchester, including Rofikul's girlfriend Helen.

When Munira arrives, the group must learn what it is to be a family.

Ten years later, war breaks out in East Pakistan. The struggle for liberation and the emergence of Bangladesh affects the family in ways that they could never have foreseen.

Hashim & Family was released on April 2 and costs £14.99 in hardback.