I’m back! (+ something new)

It feels very strange writing again. Just typing this post made me question my writing skills. I haven’t done anything in months! How do I edit? Write? How does this work? Is anyone still listening? But I’m glad to have these two months before university starts revamping my site and changing things up! Expect more frequent reviews and posts soon! I’ve also got some other big news, something that I started doing while I was gone…

I’ve started a Youtube channel!!! You can watch my first ever video here.  I’ve always wanted to do booktube and one day, I was home alone and thought “Why not!!” I had the camera and stuff to show so I filmed a video. While I know it’s not the best I can do but it’s my first try and I’m still pretty pleased with it. (Is it weird to say I had more fun editing than I did filming it?)

So, yeah, that was me checking in. Hope to be more active on this site and on my channel! Also, recommend me some booktubers, I follow a small few but I need more!




Attending #YMWA2016

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Young Muslim Writer’s Award.Despite me getting episcleritis (inflammation in my eye) a couple of days before, it was still so much fun! Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and who won!

It was a great event with an amazing atmosphere! There were so many amazing moments but I know I’ll have to list some of my favourites.

  • Watching Muzoon Almellehan, a Syrian refugee, being given the Special Recognition Award for her activism in education for young girls.
  • When S.F Said presented the award for the KS2 Short Story Award – “There is nobody who can write your story better than you.” Since I had just completed NaNoWriMo and was currently working on a new story, this line was so encouraging.
  • When Caleb Femi recited some of this poetry – He’s so talented and funny! Also loved it when he spoke on the importance of making sure people of colour are not erased from literature.


The best part of the day was meeting Zoya. I met Zoya online after she commented on my Muslim Characters in YA post and we had spoken to each other a few times over the months. And we saw each other face to face for the first time here at the event. It was amazing to meet someone you’ve spoken to online for real! Zoya was actually nominated for an award in the Key Stage 3 poetry section and won!

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Me and Zoya with her award

At the end of the awards, there was some time for networking but, unfortunately, we had to leave since my eye started aching a lot. And I had finished my eye drops so it was very painful 😦

While I really wished I spoke to more people,  I’d like to end this post with a thank you to Zainub Chohan who invited me to the event and is basically the backbone of the #YMWA. It was a great event and wouldn’t have been possible with her.  Thank you to all the judges, performers, nominees and presenters. Can’t wait to see what new talent we’ll see in 2017.

NaNoWriMo Update: one week in…

NaNoWriMo Update: one week in…

Can you believe it has already been one week into November? Since I’m being a bit of a pantser this month, my current document is a mess. There’s no real structure at this point. I’m just writing down everything I know I want to happen in this story. I am not sure how everything connects. I know where it needs to be just not how, so I guess I need to work on the outline a bit more. I already know that half the stuff I’ve written will disappear in editing after November.

But I’m slowly figuring things things, adding more and more to this setting and the character I’ve created. I think, by next week, I’ll want to create a post where I reveal more things about my story and be brave enough to introduce some characters to you.

I realised that I haven’t shared much about the plot to anyone. On the official NaNo site I’ve simply put “Set in a climate change ravaged world, a ship crew finds their sea route threatened” which is a very simple version of my plot because I do change quite a lot. Like right now, the said ship crew haven’t met yet but then sometimes I change my time and alter the plot so the crew is already together at the beginning of the novel. It’s times like this that make me wish I planned ahead!

I think the one thing I’ve struggled with was that I was doing a lot of telling rather than showing. And it irritated me a lot until I saw this tweet:

I needed this. I keep getting stressed about telling and not showing that I get nothing written. But then I remind myself, that it’s only the first draft. It will get better. So I guess I’ll talk to you later. My current word count is 13,687 and I kind of want to keep upping it early on in case I hit a writing slump later on.

YA Novels with Muslim Characters

Please note: I’m speaking from the view of mainstream publishers, as there have been Islamic companies who have attempted to provide representation.

I’ve been an avid reader and lover of Young Adult novels ever since I could ever remember. I still remember my 12-year-old self borrowing the Darren Shan vampire series one by one from my school library because my parents wouldn’t buy me the entire series. I remember the day my cousin bought me all the The Hunger Games novels, and finishing them all in the space of a couple of days. I’ve been watching the increasing attention placed on diversity in literature for YA in recent year and I love that it’s happening.

In YA novels, there are few Muslim characters. I started making this list for my cousin who wanted to read more YA novels with Muslim characters in them. So that’s why I decided to post the list here. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives an indication of the novels that exist with Muslim characters in the YA publishing sphere. I’ll be continuously updating it. Please drop a comment below if I’ve missed one out!

Any books labelled with *** means it features a muslim character within the novel but not as the main protagonist.

Continue reading “YA Novels with Muslim Characters”

Diversity and Race in YA Fiction

Hey guys, this is my first post as a Teen Trendsetter for Paper Lantern Lit and the topic was to write about something that matters to you in YA lit so I did Diversity and Race in YA fiction. I’ll also be making a post in the future about Muslims in YA fiction.

Paper Lantern Lit

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We asked some of our newest Teen Trendsetters to write blog posts about something important to them in the YA/publishing world. Check out Zaheera’s post, on diversity and race, below! You can learn more about Zaheera on Twitter @zaheerahkhalik.

Diversity and Race in YA Fiction

“I decided at 14 I would stop being Negro—that was the phrase then. Books transmit values, and if you don’t find your life in books, bingo, you have to reach the conclusion that you are less valuable.“–Walter Dean Meyers, African-American New York Times bestselling author.

I’ve been an avid reader and lover of Young Adult novels (YA) since I could ever remember. And with that being said, I’m also a strong supporter of diversity in YA novels.  Not just YA novels, but with all things fiction: television, films, etc. I want characters of color, disabilities, speaking different languages, and accurate portrayal of different cultures…

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