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Khan was convicted of terrorism-related offences at age 20, and sent to
high-security prison. He was released eight years later, and allowed to travel
to London for one day, to attend an event marking the fifth anniversary of a
prison education programme he participated in. On 29 November, 2019, he sat
with 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 two
knives, which he taped to his wrists. That day, he killed two people: Saskia
Jones and Jack Merritt.
Taneja taught fiction writing in prison for three years. Merritt oversaw her
program; Khan was one of her students. ‘It is the immediate aftermath,’ Taneja
writes. ‘“I am living at the centre of a wound still fresh.” The I is
not 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 we
believe and the voices we exclude. Contending with the pain of unspeakable loss
set against public tragedy, she draws on history, memory, and powerful poetic
predecessors to reckon with the systemic nature of atrocity. Blurring genre and
form, Aftermath is a profound attempt to regain trust after violence
and to recapture a politics of hope through a determined dream of abolition.