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.
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.
Which 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.