A lot has happened in the ten months since my last post here. My debut book is coming out, plenty of writings, a few events, and post-graduate plans — all with many friends, colleagues, and mentors to thank along the way:
My novelette, “Ciguapa,” was awarded Honorable Mention from Glimmer Train in the December 2014 Fiction Open. I owe special thanks to Hisham Matar at Barnard College, whose careful guidance during the writing of this story was invaluable, and to my peers in his Fiction Writing workshop.
That same winter, I completed a year’s worth of independent research at Columbia University under the mentorship of astronaut and professor Mike Massimino on space debris, space law, and space policy. I couldn’t have done without his enthusiasm, his love for engineering, and his academic counsel.
The third annual Muslim Protagonist Symposium subtitled “Art as Protest” happened in February. The conference has officially become a three day affair. Attendees traveled to Columbia in NYC from as far as Texas. A lot of people thought it was the best one yet — due to the amazing, insightful, and hardworking team and generous sponsors.
Meanwhile, I’ve started writing regularly for altMuslimah‘s altMen section on faith, gender, and politics — I’m grateful to Shazia Farook, Jennifer Zobair, and the rest of the altMuslimah team for their support.
My academic essay “Literature and Agency in Islamic Discourse” was selected as the lead article in the 2014-15 Issue of the University of Toronto Undergraduate Journal of Islamic Studies. I wrote about it for altMen. The article was originally part of studies under Wael Hallaq at Columbia — I am immensely grateful for his support and insight.
In April, I was selected to read my fiction at The Unpublished Reading Series “for writers who are or have been underrepresented in mainstream media.” Zainab Shah and Hamna Zubair put together a fantastic event with fantastic writers.
A few days later, the Barnard Committee on Arts displayed some of my writing as part of its “Art for Social Change” Exhibition, which was a very cool project.
A few weeks after that, I graduated from Columbia Engineering! I’m off to University of Cambridge now, where I’ll study for an M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Science.
A few months later, I got a call from Ruthie Knox at Brain Mill Press — my novella, Technologies of the Self, won the 2015 Driftless Novella Contest and is now set to be published this winter. There’ll be an initial run of fine first editions, signed and in print. I still can’t believe the news! I am grateful to Ruthie Knox, Mary Ann Rivers, and the rest of the Brain Mill Press Team. I am especially grateful to Jennifer Boylan at Barnard and Adam Wilson at Columbia. Without their thoughtful advice and support with this project, and the wonderful feedback from my peers in their workshops, none of this would have come to be. I need to also thank John Joseph Adams, Seth Dickinson, Hammaad Chaudry, James Hannaham, Hisham Matar, and Diane Turnshek for their advice, Beth Harrison and Jeanette Wallace, and my loyal first readers: Sauleha Kamal, Armando Lozano, Chris Owen, and Aneem Talukder.
In other news — the website has a new look.