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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