Habiba Desai and Sara Razzaq: Bradford's Publishing Champions

Fox & Windmill is a new publishing company founded by Habiba Desai and Sara Razzaq - and they're dedicated to sharing new voices from underrepresented communities.
July 6, 2022

Fox & Windmill is the UK’s first independent publishing company for British South Asian writers. We’re dedicated in bridging the gap in publishing so we can share new voices from underrepresented backgrounds. We are based in Bradford and proud to have created a platform for creatives and those interested in publishing to have an outlet where they can ask questions and learn about this seemingly closed off industry. We are passionate about publishing Young Adult and Literary Fiction, in particular fantasy and sci-fi. These are the genres that we identified lacking in terms of diversity and representation.

Our submissions process slightly differs from traditional publishing. We are an agentless publisher, so our writers do not need an agent to send through their work to us. The writer can contact us with their work and we will chat with them directly. Here at Fox & Windmill we are personal with our approach, and we want to build a relationship with our writers so we can work with them to learn about their inspirations. Along with working our full-time jobs, me and Habiba run Fox & Windmill at every chance we can get. We enjoy what we do, and we are excited every single day to connect with people and share their stories.

We launched our first publication "Into The Wilds" at the Bradford Literature Festival on the 24th June. This was an anthology to prelaunch Fox & Windmill. This anthology includes short stories and poetry from fifteen debut writers. We also have included already established writers such as Costa-nominated author Sairish Hussain and award-winning poet Zaffar Kunial. We thoroughly enjoyed the process of longlisting the work after receiving some fantastic submissions. From these, our judges, including our mentor and award-winning publisher Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books along with Dr Sofia Rehman, created a shortlist which we then went ahead and published. We are thrilled to share this with the everyone and the response has been phenomenal. We have had reviews from some amazing individuals within the industry such as Nikesh Shukla, Kia Abdullah and Andrew McMillan just to name a few. We also had journalist and author Saima Mir write the introduction to this anthology. Since then, we have been visiting festivals and doing boat readings with our debut writers who we have been lucky enough to provide a platform for. This experience has validified why Fox & Windmill is necessary and that there are amazing stories out there that need to be shared.

Habiba and Sara

We are extremely lucky to be a part of a supporting and uplifting community of independent publishers and bookshops. Being an indie publisher, the support we have received has been overwhelming and we have  always been able to talk to people who have made time for us no matter how busy their schedules have been. In the space of just over a year, we have been able to offer library workshops and writing mentorships to individuals within our community. When we began our indie press, we would discuss the importance of working with our community to offer opportunities for creatives. We have also been to schools and libraries where we have spoken with students about a career in publishing and writing.

Our mentor Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books has been instrumental in motivating us to set up and till this day we are constantly seeking advice from him. We are incredibly thankful for the community that we have around us and we look forward to publishing full manuscripts next year. At Fox & Windmill we always say that if we are able to share one story that resonates with you then we have done our job. We are proud to be from Bradford and with the city winning UK City of Culture 2025, we are incredibly excited to be a part of the creative community and watch it flourish.