UsmanKhan was convicted of terrorism-related offences at age 20, and sent tohigh-security prison. He was released eight years later, and allowed to travelto London for one day, to attend an event marking the fifth anniversary of aprison education programme he participated in. On 29 November, 2019, he satwith others at Fishmongers’ Hall, some of whom he knew. Then he went to the bathroom to retrieve the things he had hidden there: a fake bomb vest and twoknives, which he taped to his wrists. That day, he killed two people: SaskiaJones and Jack Merritt. PretiTaneja taught fiction writing in prison for three years. Merritt oversaw herprogram; Khan was one of her students. ‘It is the immediate aftermath,’ Tanejawrites. ‘”I am living at the centre of a wound still fresh.” The I isnot only mine. It belongs to many.’ In this searching lament by the award-winning author of We That Are Young,Taneja interrogates the language of terror, trauma and grief; the fictions webelieve and the voices we exclude. Contending with the pain of unspeakable lossset against public tragedy, she draws on history, memory, and powerful poeticpredecessors to reckon with the systemic nature of atrocity. Blurring genre andform, Aftermath is a profound attempt to regain trust after violenceand to recapture a politics of hope through a determined dream of abolition.
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