My First Time... with Haroun Khan

Haroun Khan, The Riff Raff

Haroun Khan is a writer proud of his South London roots. His background is in tech, having graduated from Imperial College with a Computer Science degree. He then consulted extensively in the sector across the US and Europe, and has published two technical books for his industry. Currently he is the owner/founder of, an online retailer specialising in travel in Japan.

The Study Circle is his debut novel and is based upon his own experiences growing up on a council estate.

We are delighted that Haroun will be joining us at The Riff Raff on Thursday 7 February. Come and join us to hear him read and mine him for wisdom.

Buy tickets here >>

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

I’ve had the itch to write for many years, but never had enough time or financial stability to devote myself to giving it a go.

Growing up with the media obsession with Muslims, I was waiting for someone to actually write something that would bear some credible resemblance to our lives which are far away from tabloid headlines. Year after year, nothing did get published and this, along with the biting urge to write, forced me to give it a go. I thought it would be a massive failure in my life if I didn’t at least try.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?

I don’t know whether it would have changed my writing but I was naïve to the market forces behind publishing. It’s not good enough just to write something special (although that is a prerequisite), but you are subject to the whims and fancies of agents and publishers.

Networking is a lot more important than I realised, and generally the industry is risk averse. They ask themselves: Where can I place this book? Has anything similar been successful before? However good it is, where is the demand? Ultimately, they normally err on the side of caution, and make the best choice for their own specific job/position.

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What did you enjoy most ab