A book retells the story of five friends who decided to publish their own newspaper in North West England.

Based on true events, ‘Five Guys Named Zaika’ is written by journalist Shuiab Khan.

The story begins on Christmas Eve 1997 and details the first few turbulent weeks as the inexperienced twenty-somethings plan to launch the first edition of the Asian Image from their ‘headquarters’ in a backstreet toilet roll factory.

The book title includes the female name ‘Zaika’ whose meaning is revealed during the course of the story.

The story lifts the lid on a whole range of issues relating to politics, race, religion, money, drugs, sex, gender and alcohol which are still relevant today.

Shuiab said: “There has always been this community of ‘urban undergound’ publishers and writers who somehow find ways to survive. In many ways we pay homage to those people who manage to carry on against the odds.

“At the same time there are some quite serious moments where prejudice in all its forms is discussed. This is not just when Asians are on the receiving end but also how those of other races (white and black) are perceived by those from an Asian background. It is not a comfortable discussion at times but needs to be had.

“This is most of all a story of a strained friendships and how something that started off as a joke between some guys sat in a takeaway went on to become much more significant.

Shuiab added: “The story celebrates unique Lancashire humour complete with language that is raw and brutally honest.”

Five Guys Named Zaika is available on paperback and eBook here

Here is an extract

Every Monday we would head to the pub to take part in the quiz. It was not a familiar pub that you might find in inner city neighbourhoods, but situated just outside the town and it was probably the reason we were drawn to it.

The point is Muslims rarely ventured into pubs for obvious reasons, but this particular place, ‘The Spread Eagle’, hosted a quiz every so often and Zak being the ever resourceful one had persuaded us to take part. At first it seemed to be the nerdy thing to do and there was a danger also of being labelled ‘gorafied’, a term used to describe Zak on many an occasion. It meant that he was ‘whitified’ or had westernised habits. 

The funny thing was he tended to embrace the term because he was far from that in many ways and was probably more of a traditionalist than all of us put together.

Another reason the pub had been out of bounds was due to the unfounded belief that every single person in there must be either drunk or violent – or both. As we grew older, we had realised much of what we had been fed was in fact based on exaggeration and outright lies. Nonetheless it was frowned upon even if you popped in for a glass of cola.

Whenever we were in the Spread Eagle, Zak liked to recollect the story of the young men who had come home drunk one night. Imran and Akeel had not heard this particular tale. “Do you remember when we were kids these two guys came home smelling of booze and told their mums they had been stopped in the street and forced to drink alcohol?”

Imran and Akeel looked a little confused. “What the hell?” said Imran.

“Yeah, their mums then went around the neighbourhood warning all the families we should all look out for some white men who were grabbing people at random and forcing them to drink alcohol. It scared the bloody pants off us. I wasn’t allowed out for days,” explained Zak.

Imran laughed. “You can’t beat mums and their excuses. Always protecting the sons, no matter what.”

Akeel still looked baffled. “So, did they catch them?”

“Who?” I said.

“The men?”

Zak looked at him and frowned.

Akeel started laughing. “Oh, I get it. Brilliant.”