Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel Does My Head Look Big In This?
, published in 2005, introduced readers to Amal Abdel-Hakim, a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim.
It was thought-provoking and funny, and perfectly captured what it’s like to be a teenager, while at the same time it encouraged readers to see the world from a different perspective.
Fast-forward eleven years and Randa’s highly anticipated tenth novel When Michael Met Mina
has just been released.
When Michael Met Mina
was inspired by Randa’s PhD fieldwork examining issues of race in Australia, and it has been described as a novel for anyone who wants to fight for love and against injustice.
1. What was your favourite book growing up and why?
Mrs Frisby and The Rats of Nimh
was one of my favourite books when I was a child. I don’t know why this book captivated me the way it did but I was obsessed with it. Read it over and over again.
2. If you could invite three fictional characters to dinner, who would you pick?
Scheherazade, Anne of Green Gables, and Gandalf.
3. What is your favourite part of the #LoveOzYA community?
Genuine warmth, good will and support among the YA authors.
4. What would you like to tell your 18 year-old self?
Take a year off university and travel.
5. If you could pick the next big ‘trend’ in YA fiction, what would you choose?
Um…dystopian animal kingdom meets historical fiction? In other words, no idea.
6. Who inspires you? (Doesn’t have to be limited to other writers.)
I know a community development worker/writer/playwright academic who has devoted her life to anti-racism advocacy across multiple sites. Whenever I’m feeling low, speaking to her gives me an instant boost. Her passion, energy, wit and knowledge are boundless and infectious.
7. What YA book absolutely needs to be adapted into a film?
The Incredible Here and Now
by Felicity Castagna.
8. What’s the best #LoveOzYA book you’ve read in the past 12 months?
My Sister Rosa
by Justine Larbalestier.
9. What is your number one tip for would-be writers?
Read widely and eclectically. Write daily.
10. How would you summarise your latest book in 25 words or less?
Ignorance and racism come cheap. You have to earn the right to love, integrity, humanity and knowledge. Oh, and halal snack packs won’t convert you.