So I am ten days away from finishing uni and can't wait. I've attended my last class and am on top of my last assessment. It's an interesting process coming to terms with this milestone. I'm at the point where I'm excited for my life to begin as a teacher.
Just completed my Hell Week where I had to complete my last few assessments while proofreading the anthology. The great thing about reading it in its entirety was being able to appreciate the amazing stories and I'm feeling really excited about the publication.
Right now though I'm excited about the 'Summer of Amra,' (anyone who has watched Seinfield should know this reference from the Summer of George.) I'm looking forward to making writing my priority for a little while, until the school year starts and I'm working. I'm applying for jobs at the moment so it's just a matter of keeping my fingers crossed to see whether I have a contract for the year or if it's CRT work. Either way my first year as a teacher will be stressful so this is my last writing hurrah for a little while.
I have big impossible goals, most of which I won't achieve, but I figure if I fail I will still succeed as long as I have words down. One of my goals is to do Nano. After about eight years of trying I successfully completed my first Nano last year, so I'm feeling hopeful about this year. I'm going to challenge myself even further by undertaking another long term goal and I've downloaded Scrivener and now have to learn how to use it.
My plan is to do my Nano manuscript in Scrivener so I am forced to learn. Hopefully now that uni is over I can deal with learning new things. I won't be joining the Nano website, but I will be updating my word count via my blog and social media. So if you too are Nanoing, let's connect and push each other.
For the past two years I have been co-editing with Demet Divaroren an anthology of Muslim writers to be published by Allen and Unwin. It has been one of the most challenging and exhilarating things I have ever done and we are squeaking over the finish line. It will go to print in November and be out in February 2014.I can't believe that after all this hard work, sweat and tears it's nearly going to be over!
We're now reaching the exciting stage where we are planning the launch and publicity, and we got our first review and have had our first interview in Books + Publishing Magazine. You can read the review below and if you want to read the interview you can get a free trial and access it.
The review is so great and I can't wait for the book to be out in the world for people to read it. We have so many incredibly talented writers who have shared their stories:
Hazem El Masri
Arwa El Masri
Michael Mohammed Ahmad
It's been an honour and privilege to work with them. For now here's the review:
Books + Publishing Review of Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia
Review by Meredith Lewin
Coming of Age is the kind of book that will change how readers look at the world, at others and themselves. This anthology of real-life stories from Australian Muslim authors explores the complexities of growing up Muslim in multicultural Australia—in the 1980s and 1990s but also the post-9/11 landscape, where to be visibly Muslim was suddenly redefined. Pitched at the YA nonfiction market, its strong human interest emphasis will appeal to engaged teenagers and a broader Gen X/Y audience. Aiming to demystify Islam and challenge ‘Islamaphobia’, the contributors succeed brilliantly at highlighting the diversity of Muslim culture and identity. From ‘halal romance’ at Muslim youth camp to female kickboxing, professional football and the Miss World contest, the writers explore how family, friendship, religion, gender, sexuality and culture shaped who they became. Particularly fascinating are pieces by female contributors examining body image, faith, identity and desire that shatter the stereotypes. Together, the stories expose common threads of hope, love, belief and belonging—and the intense alienation and discrimination experienced by the authors. Their individual paths to coming of age, coloured with many shades of humour, warmth, sadness, anger, determination and honesty, will resonate with readers from all backgrounds and beliefs.
And hopefully this is one of many more exciting things to come.
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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