Saba Karim Khan is an author, award-winning filmmaker and educator, whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Wasafiri, Huff Post, Verso, Think Progress, DAWN, The Friday Times and Express Tribune. She has read Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford and works at NYU Abu Dhabi. Before joining the Academy, she worked as Country Marketing and Public Affairs Head at Citigroup. Born in Karachi, she now lives in Abu Dhabi with her husband and two daughters.
“They will call you ‘The Troublemaker’, but before you leave this world, you will cross the 7-mile bridge in Heera Mandi"
Rania is a tour guide by day and a classical singer-in-secret by night. Born in Heera Mandi, Lahore's most famous red-light district, she has seen her madrassah-running father sell her mother's body and beat her sister Ujala. But Rania is the 'troublemaker', the little bird who will fly beyond the stifling walls of the red light district and upend everything around her.
“Bold and compelling, Skyfall takes us to a place spoken of only in whispers. Khan shows us Lahore and New York as never seen before… Khan's prose will sweep you off your feet. It is lyrical to the point of being magical…Unmissable.”
— Awais Khan, author of In the Company of Strangers
“This indelible debut by Saba Karim Khan sings a song of rebellion, bursting with incendiary energy. And that voice! … grabs us like an aria sung from a dark streetcorner. Stand with Khan; read this book; find your closed eyes opened”
— Miguel Syjuco, author of the Man Asian Prize-winning novel Ilustrado (Picador, 2010)
“A breathtaking, daring, and urgent debut novel that delivers a cavalcade of piercing emotional truth about the immigrant experience… In the mode of Mohsin Hamid and David Mitchell, this is a wise and provocative feat of storytelling that contains multitudes”
— Gabe Hudson, author of Dear Mr. President
“SKYFALL is a bold, big-hearted debut: at once a deeply political novel concerned with the most pressing global issues of our time, it is also an adventure story, a romance, and a page-turning thriller. Saba Karim Khan has established herself as a writer of immense tenderness and strength.”
— Jake Wolff, author of The History of Living Forever
The Social Experiment on photographing migrant workers in the Gulf during Covid-19 from: The Pandemic Lens
Research Focus Areas
My research focuses on the global South and the Gulf, specifically the politics of sexual harassment, radicalism, modern-day slavery, social movements and South Asian diasporas. My projects employ qualitative research methods, ethnographic fieldwork, visual anthropology, digital ethnography, and new media technologies.
In the Media
“The punchline of the story symbolises how, despite their upended lives, these boys didn’t downsize their dreams to fit their reality. Instead, they outstripped their reality so it would fit their dreams.” The National, UAE on Concrete Dreams: Some Roads Lead Home
“When you think of Pakistan, you think all things combustible; a precarious nation, operating at dizzying speed, forever on the boil. With Concrete Dreams, I wanted to pull together the threads of how, despite its pathologies and problems, something makes Pakistan tick. What is that something?” QUAD, University of Oxford on becoming a filmmaker.