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The Sydney Muslim Writers' Festival

Last weekend I took little Miss to the Sydney Muslim Writers' Festival. The festival featured prominent Australian Muslim writers, like Sara Saleh, Farah Yahgmour Elsaket, Annie McCann, Razeena Omar Gutta, Mohammad Mohammad, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Zeynab Gamieldien, and so much more! It was a beautiful event; a perfect opportunity to network.

They had a children's corner, beautifully set up with games, toys, and a library for the little ones to enjoy. A number of amazing authors encircled the space, their books propped up proudly - and deservedly, too. Little Miss certainly enjoyed the face painting and henna art, and got to make new friends! Shout out to Farah for coaxing her girls to take care of little Miss while I tried to (unsuccessfully) enjoy a session or two (it's hard not to worry about your littles ones in the company of three hundred people going in and out).

I sat in to listen to Professor Mehmet Ozalp, Dr Mahsheed Ansari, and X talk about the value of Islamic knowledge, what it means for our world today, and how important it is to decolonise knowledge on Islam and Muslims. I also sat in to listen to a wonderful panel of KidLit and YA authors - Razeena Omar Gutta, Farah Yaghmour Elsaket, and Rawah Arja, facilitated by Annie McCann - talk about the importance of representation for children from minority backgrounds and how far the publishing industry has come in representing diverse voices. Still, the panel did say that there is still a long way to go in bridging the gap and that representation should never be for representation sake.

The festival had a number of stalls featuring goodies from small businesses. I absolutely love these set of bowls handcrafted by Palestinians from Hebron. All proceeds go to education programs to help accelerate Palestinian learning and preservation of Palestinian culture.

I splurged on books (my bad!) from Better Read Than Dead. I got the following:

  • Maymoona's Moon by Razeena Omar Gutta

  • Hana's Hundred's of Hijabs by Razeena Omar Gutta

  • The Scope of Permissibility by Zeynab Gamieldien

  • 11 Words for Love by Randa Abdel-Fattah

  • A to Z of Mini Muslims by Mariam Latifi

  • Coming of Age in the War on Terror by Randa Abdel-Fattah

  • Too Migrant, Too Muslim, Too Loud by Mehreen Faruqi

I promised little Miss a train ride - her first one! after the festival. She absolutely loved it!

Until next time,

Mirela xx


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