Beauty, Life, Mark Gonzales, Writing

Reflections on my book launch with @markgonzales @mayfahmi @sarasaleh #wagebeauty


(Photo credit: Subhi Be)

WOW. That’s all I’m sayin’. Being on the “A Word’s Worth” panel with May Fahmi, Sara Saleh, and Mark Gonzales sure was inspiring! It’s so refreshing to be part of a dialogue about the written word because sometimes, the act of writing can be isolating. I really benefited from the creative energy buzzing in that room.

As much as we enjoyed listening to Mark Gonzales speak, I appreciated his curiosity about what the rest of us had to say. May and Sara, I’m SO thrilled to hear that your screenplay is being turned into a short film and I cannot wait to watch it!

Thank you, the LMA team, for giving me the opportunity to be a panelist as well as showcase my book. Reading out the first chapter of Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf really brought back my sense of wonder. It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama and back and forth of editing and publication. My book launch was a reminder of the love I have for writing and story-telling.

I’d also like to thank all my friends and family who came to my book launch, as well as those who couldn’t make it. I couldn’t have gotten this far without your love, prayers and support. Here’s to many more book launches!

For all aspiring writers who haven’t yet published – keep writing! I hope that your stories will see the light of day, the way mine have. That being said, writing is a craft and an art that takes years to refine, so enjoy the journey. Do your part, and let things unfold.

On another note, I took away three gems after listening to Mark Gonzales:

1) Vulnerability is strong, and not weak. #fiercevulnerability

2) We can choose to tell the same stories of our hurt and oppression, or we can write better ones of where we want to be.

3) When writing/creating art, remember our values, vision and non-negotiables.

I wasn’t able to attend any other events with Mark Gonzales because of my hectic travel schedule, but I’m hoping to be part of a team who’ll host him in KL, Malaysia! We have amazing food there…#wagebeauty #tehtarik


Love, Marriage, Poetry, Short story

The Drum – a literary magazine for your ears




I’ve recently stumbled across a wonderful literary magazine called The Drum. Check it out! Being an avid fan of all things literary, I’ve come to really enjoy my stopovers at The Drum. Each poem/essay is unique; some poignant, others hilarious.

I really enjoyed Jane Hamilton’s essay “Finding Forgiveness In a Ziploc”. Her heartwarming reflection on marriage revolves around an incident at the airport with her husband and a ziploc bag. While listening to her voice, I was a fly on the wall during the dramatic, stress-induced culmination of 26 years of her marriage. That being said, I’m all for happy endings, and her thoughtful, honest and funny essay left me with a wonderful sense of hope.



Finding a writing mentor


Writing mentors. Ever heard of one?

I find that writing is a largely solitary process. It’s me, my keyboard, a mug of ginger tea. But getting the encouragement to continue to write is a whole other story! That comes from my family and close friends, and a continual renewal of my intention behind why I write.

Because I live in Sydney, it helps to narrow down my mentor search to what’s close by. The NSW writing centre talks about their mentorship program here.

This is my first thought: OMG SO EXPENSIVE.

Second thought: So this is how writers can earn money.

Third thought: Well, it’s a service, and if it means making my manuscript the best it can be, then sure thing! That’s a wise investment.

Well, at this point in time, not only can I not afford a mentorship assessment, I also don’t really need one. I’ve already got a publisher waiting for me to finish up my second manuscript.

However! For future manuscripts which I intend to pitch at other literary agents and publishers, I would definitely consider a manuscript assessment. You know that glazed-eyed feeling when you’ve looked at your own writing for too long? A sure-fire way to fix that is by paying a team of experts to look over it for you, and give you constructive feedback. As usual, what I need to keep doing is write!

Here are a few very handy articles I’ve found on writing mentors:

How to Find A Mentor in 10 Not-So-Easy Steps

Writing mentors: What they do and where to find one

On another note, here’s a lovely review from Subhi Bora:

Raidah, I read Finding Jamilah. I loved it. It is so beautifully written mashallah! and I must say, I may have shed a few tears toward the end. 🙂