Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf is online and available for purchase on the Amazon Kindle store 🙂 If you like coming-of-age YA (Young Adult) fiction featuring Muslim teens of colour, please read it, share it with your loved ones, and leave a review! Thank you for welcoming my stories into your life ❤ May they leave your heart a little warmer.
So back in Ye Olde Days when I had hours upon hours of unappreciated free time to devour novel after novel….I loved reading epic fantasies. Now that my hours upon hours of free time are GONE – I’ve discovered the joy of short stories. And I really, really, love them! It’s such a nice feeling to dip and out of a short story collection.
I’m currently reading Mia Alvar’s In The Country. It’s a gorgeously written collection of diaspora stories. She writes so lyrically! I love how universal her themes are: loss, displacement, identity, and the pull of family.
I’m currently listening to The Found And The Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin on Audible. I have another glorious 32 hours to go, and am loving the depths of her story-telling.
Interestingly, when I read short stories like these, it makes it easier for me to get into the zone of writing my own short stories.
Love reading? Enjoy writing? Want to support local writers? Come down to Readings@Seskan this Saturday 🙂 The ever-supportive and wonderful Sharon Bakar invited me to read an excerpt from my unfinished short story collection. Thank you Sharon!
I’ve been meaning to attend for so long, and am so excited that I’m actually days away. (InshaAllah nothing cataclysmic happens from now until then, ahem)
Update: Hanna Alkaf’s Q&A at Kino was wonderful. I enjoyed hearing her story about her own journey as a prolific reader, and how that shaped her writing. I really appreciated how honest she was about how much hard work writing is.
It was great to hear how supportive her editor (Zareen Jaffery) is in not italicising words in Malay and Chinese. Makes for a much more fluid and Malaysian story. She read her first chapter and I can’t wait to read the rest of it when her book is out on Feb 5th 2019!
Her advice to me? FINISH A MANUSCRIPT. Because I have like three unfinished manscripts, but my “book is in [my] first draft,’ #hannasaid #mustlistenlah
Plus! Her stunning book cover has been revealed! So Malaysian – I mean, just look at Melati’s uniform! Read more here.
“There is a story only you can tell because you are unique.” – Na’ima B. Robert,
I am SO EXCITED! The content is inspiring, the dashboard looks gorgeous, and the Facebook group is thrumming with supportive sister-writer love.
The Day One line up of wonderful speakers looks like this:
Na’ima B Robert – The Story You Were Born To Tell
LaYinka Sanni – The World of Your Mind, The World of Your Pen
Aishah Adams – Aishah Adams
There’s still time to sign up here! Bit.ly/MuslimahWritersSummit
Please come and join me and the rest of the “Bitter Root, Sweet Fruit” team on Sunday 17th December at KLPAC , 3 pm 🙂
I’m so thrilled to be part of this wonderful collection of short stories. Thank you, D.K. Dutt Award team, Sharon Bakar and Dipika Mukherjee for bringing my words to life!
The night I wrote this piece, my toddler kept waking up throughout the night. This was long before she was nightweaned, and I was in those “Will I ever sleep again? Will I ever write without interruptions?” modes. I was desperate to meet the deadline, to prove to myself that I could and would still write. Despite that, and perhaps because of that desperation, I channeled all that into my writing. I didn’t expect to hear back from them, and to see my story in a book is beyond exciting!
So, if you’re a writerly mama, don’t lose hope. Short stories, at least, are still within reach – in between all the tantrums, diapers, breastfeeding, weaning, and fevers!
So when you have a spirited toddler, it can be challenging to sit down and read. This is why Audible is my friend. Yay for audiobooks, which I can listen to in the car!
I’ve always been a huge fantasy fan. My favourite book when I was 12 was Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce. Here’s a list of some of my fantasy favourites, in no particular order:
- Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, MaddAdam
- Ursula Le Guin – Tales of Earthsea
- N.K. Jemisin – Stone Sky trilogy
- J.RR. Tolkien – Lord of the Rings trilogy
- Phillip Pullman – His Dark Materials trilogy
The one annoying thing though, is the lack of diversity in all of the fantasy books I know and love. Except for Le Guin’s, of course. So! This is why it’s been wonderful reading more local Malaysian work – plenty of diversity to spice things up.
I really enjoyed the audiobook version of Sorcerer to the Crown. It’s a refreshingly different fantasy story by a talented Malaysian author, Zen Cho. The two main protagonists are people of colour, which is already a big plus. She weaves a hilarious tale of magical hijinks set in England, against a backdrop of racism, sexism, and all the fun things I love to see deconstructed. Lots of witty banter!
It does take some time to build up to the action, so you’ll need to be patient. Totally worth it though, so hang in there and enjoy the story. Here’s more info on the book from Zen Cho’s website.
Next book review – N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series.
Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, welcomes manuscripts about Muslim children and young adults. Folks, start writing!
Check out their upcoming publications: Amina’s Voice and Yo Soy Muslim!
@SalaamReads, thank you for giving a voice to the many, many Muslim stories out there, just waiting to be heard ❤
I’m so excited about the diversity, peace and hope that these books offer. I grew up with Enid Blyton and other books that had characters who looked nothing like me. Now that I have a daughter, I see the importance of her reading books with more relatable characters and themes.
Speaking of which, my daughter loves “My Father’s Farm” and “My Mother’s Kitchen” – gorgeous Malaysian picturebooks filled with native joy, written by Emila Yusof. It’s so cool to see beautifully illustrated Malaysian flora and fauna.
When I point to Dina, the main character in the storybooks, and ask my daughter who that is, she grins, points to herself and says, “Taskeen!” ❤