Photo by Azalia Suhaimi

My name is Hanna Alkaf. I’m a storyteller, a doodler, and a full-time wrangler of two tiny humans.I wrote my first work of fiction, a short story that was selected for publication in a local anthology, at age 18. Afterwards, when I tried again, it seemed the well had dried up. I would start, then stop, start, then stop. Clearly, I thought, I was meant to make my living writing nonfiction.

So I took the next step. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in 2007. Since then, I’ve served my time as:

  • A content creator in B2B online marketing;
  • A senior writer at Marie Claire; and
  • The communications manager at Teach For Malaysia.

Even my first book was a work of creative nonfiction, a way of parlaying my years of experience into an even longer form.

Then at 30, I thought: What exactly IS stopping me from writing fiction?

I couldn’t come up with an answer.

That year, I penned The Tryouts, which went on to win the inaugural DK Dutt Award for Literary Excellence, and which appears in the companion anthology Champion Fellas.

At the end of 2016, I started a young adult novel, the very first one I’d ever attempted.

By 2017, I had a literary agent and a book deal.

And now you can buy that book, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, in bookstores all around the world.

Crane_SpotWhich is to say, you may not be the writer you thought you’d be, or even the one you want to be right now. But time has a funny way of allowing us to excavate and extricate our true selves, if we let it.

So just trust yourself.

And trust the words.

And keep writing.