S.K. Ali’s young adult fiction focuses on resilient Muslim girls who negotiate questions of faith, race, community and love, while also doing the work of teens everywhere: figuring out who they are. It’s a lot, she acknowledges. “Yes, there’s a lot of vulnerability laid bare on the page, along with the confidence. But that is where I hope readers meet me. In that space where we see each other as we are.”
It’s Sajidah’s evocation of that space which saw her debut novel, Saints and Misfits, shortlisted for the William C. Morris Award, among other honours. Her second novel, Love from A-Z, is a spring break love story that tackles big issues like Islamophobia, political anger, and life with a degenerative disease.
Sajidah’s advice for those seeking more diverse literature? “Make what you want to see/read/write and your audience will find you. Don’t be constrained by the canon that came before because that canon didn’t include you.” To that end, she says, “I write for the unseen and those wanting to see.”
Appearing in: 7. Without Apology: YA Fiction