Museum of Awards – 2014

With the trophies polished and the envelopes sealed, our biggest Young Muslim Writers Awards ceremony to date returned once again to Senate House in October 2014. Three hundred guests celebrated the shortlisted writers and congratulate the winners, and had the opportunity to meet with each other in our specially crafted networking reception. Here, the writers spoke with some of the judges, publishers and other figures from the arts. Muslim Hands were delighted to once again have the ceremony presented by Yusuf Islam Foundation, an umbrella organisation championing education, community development and the alleviation of poverty

Opening the ceremony, 11-year old Yunus Warsame recited from the Holy Quran followed by a dazzling line-up of entertainment featuring an animated and humorous act by award-winning storyteller and actress Alia AlZougbi, an enchanting performance by young sisters Amaani and Saffiya, and an uplifting set by global singer-songwriter and special guest Saif Adam.

Previous winner, Hanzla MacDonald, now a playwrite, shared a few words on the shortlisted pieces before presenting an award, as did authors Jane Ray and Katherine Langrish, journalist Yasmin Khatun, singer Khaleel Muhammad and many others.


Key Stage 1 Poetry

  • Aneesa Fadhlullah Agbaje - Cherries Are Nice, As Small As Mice
  • Aisha Kamuka - The Cat and his Friends
  • Abdurrahman Sheikhmohamud - Allah Loves Children
  • Khadijah Shah - Weather - WINNER
  • Yaqub Kheyar - My Helpful Mommy

Key Stage 2 Poetry

  • Mayah Anwar - The River
  • Saffiyah Baig - In the Deep Dark Forest
  • Iman Uddin - The Four Seasons
  • Alwaaz Khan - The Bullet - WINNER
  • Safa Mundiya - Summer Slides

Key Stage 3 Poetry

  • Hamza Amer - Sonnets - WINNER
  • Jasmin Khanom - Everything Precious Must Be Covered - WINNER
  • Zakia Duaale - My Soul
  • Aymen Ahmed - Aymen Ahmed
  • Nafeesah Siddique - Graphite Stained

Key Stage 4 Poetry

  • Safah Ahmed - Borders
  • Amani Uddin - I Am - WINNER
  • Amani Siddique - Imprison the Moment
  • Hajar Saihi - She lost a soul, a Breath; Dead
  • Maya Mahmood - Three Poems

Key Stage 1 Short Story

  • Humaymah Member - Be Kind to All
  • Maariah Mindhola - How I Met a Dinosaur - WINNER
  • Abrarrahman Al Sakkaf - Abrarrahman Al Sakkaf
  • Rihab Riyaz - The Painful Fate of Ali
  • Sufyan Zamir - The Syrian Story

Key Stage 2 Short Story

  • Hannah Rehman - Darkness Comes for Everyone, Eventually!
  • Takreem Ahmad - Folksaga
  • Fajr Amer - Freedom
  • Zakariya Ravalia - Shot
  • Iman Uddin - Pride of Brindle - WINNER

Key Stage 3 Short Story

  • Yasser Hussainey - Horror Detention
  • Mariam Ahmad - Ninja Nun: Origins
  • Ammaarah Samuel - New World
  • Maryam Ahmad - The Hunt
  • Imaan Maryam Irfan - The Piper - WINNER

Key Stage 4 Short Story

  • Amani Uddin - Poppy Dilemmas
  • Madihah Hasan - Syria: We Will be Free
  • Fathima Ra’ana Riyaz - The Grass on the Other Side
  • Amani Anwar - We're All Cowards Here - WINNER
  • Taiba Asghar - The Price

Writer of the Year

Alwaaz Khan



Suma Din

Suma is the author of children’s educational titles, the latest of which is One Day – Around the world in 24 hours and the popular women’s title Turning the Tide – Reawakening the Women’s Heart and Soul.  Her children’s books focus on faith, global citizenship and human right’s issues, and adult writing explores family and marriage issues for various publications. Suma teaches in the Adult Education sector in Buckinghamshire where she lives with her family. Locally she co-leads a girls’ youth group and is an active participant in interfaith programmes

Sufiya Ahmed

Sufiya is the author of Secrets of the Henna Girl (Puffin Books) and is the recipient of the 2012 Brit Writers’ Awards’ Published Writer of the Year prize and Best Teenage Book at the Redbridge Children’s Book Award 2013. The novel has been shortlisted for the North East Teen Book Award and Rotherham Children’s Book Award, highly commended at the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and translated into Arabic, Spanish and Polish.

She is the founder/director of the BIBI Foundation, a non-profit organisation which encourages the involvement of diverse and underprivileged children in the democratic process through visits to the Houses of Parliament.

The fourth book in her Zahra series, Zahra’s Second Year at the Khadija Academy, was released in October 2013.

Sumayya Lee

Sumayya was born in South Africa during the Apartheid Era. Her debut, The Story of Maha was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Best First Book – Africa) and she has since published the sequel: Maha, Ever After. This year, she served as a Mentor for Writivism 2014 – a pan African literary event that is the brainchild of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence in Uganda – and edited the anthology of Longlisted writers: Fire in the Night and Other Stories. She is currently editing her third novel while daydreaming about books four and five. Sumayya loves reading and eating (preferably on a Durban beach) and hates injustice, Islamophobia, misogyny and February in England.

Shemiza Rashid

Shemiza is a multi-award winning interfaith practitioner, teacher, radio producer, broadcaster, author of Diary of the Wimpy Mom and a mother of six young children. She is also the founder of the Creative Muslim Network and children’s performing arts club Shining Ummah.


Passionate about ethical food and child food poverty, Shemiza recently joined celebrity BBC2 chef Cyrus Todiwalla and the Masterchefs as part of a live judging panel for the (MKIAC) Milton Keynes Healthy Cook Off. She regularly features as a contributor and guest panellist on BBC Asian Network and BBC Three Counties Radio. Earlier this year she was presented the Asian Women of Achievement Award for Public Service.

Shahida Rahman

Shahida is an author and publisher and was born and raised in Cambridge, England. Shahida’s writing includes Ibrahim-Where in the Spectrum Does he Belong? a memoir about raising a son with a learning disorder. More recently Shahida has authored Lascar, a work of historical fiction inspired by a paternal ancestor, a Lascar (seaman). The novel was shortlisted for the Muslim Writers Awards, Unpublished Novel prize in 2008, longlisted for the Brit Writers Unpublished Novel prize 2010. She has also written The Lascar, a radio play.

Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Shadab Zeest Hashmi is a Pushcart prize nominee and her book Baker of Tarifa won the 2011 San Diego Book Award for poetry. Her work has appeared in Poetry International, Vallum, Nimrod, The Bitter Oleander, The Cortland Review, Journal of Postcolonial Writings, Hubbub, UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry, 3 Quarks Daily, and is forthcoming in Spillway, Sugar Mule and other places. She has taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence. Kohl and Chalk is her new book of poems.

Rosemary Hayes

Rosemary lives in rural Cambridgeshire with her husband and an assortment of animals.  She worked for Cambridge University Press and then for some years she ran her own publishing company, Anglia Young Books.  Rosemary has written over thirty books for children including two books about young British Muslims, ‘Mixing It’ and ‘Payback’, both shortlisted for awards. She is a reader for a well known authors’ advisory service and she also runs creative writing workshops for both children and adults.

Richard Grant

Richard, also known as Dreadlockalien, is a dreadlocked poet of Anglo-Indian and Caribbean origin and is the tenth Poet Laureate of Birmingham. As a workshop facilitator, he focuses on the disenfranchised, believing “the cradle of creativity lies at the fringes of society.” Issues Dreadlockalien touches on include identity, immigration and citizenship, and has empowered those in secure units, young offenders institutions, schools and community venues.

Nathalie Handal

Nathalie is from Bethlehem, Palestine, and considered one of the most important voices of her generation. She is the author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. Her collection The Invisible Star, is forthcoming.

Khaleel Muhammad

Khaleel is one of the most established artists in the nasheed industry whose soulful voice and dynamic stage performances have made him an internationally known performer. Khaleel has performed to audiences around the world including South Africa, the United States and Germany.

Khaleel has produced four videos and three albums, Heaven, Dhikr of Life and The Adventures of Hakim: 2 which also feature other nasheed artists. The original Adventures of Hakim was released in 1999 with the hope of helping children to tackle problems such as crime, drugs and gangs. Khaleel is the author of Muslim All Stars: Helping the Polonskys, a children’s book with Manga-style illustrations.

Miriam Moss

Miriam is an award winning author of children’s picture books and non-fiction. She also writes short stories and has just finished her first novel. She leads creative writing workshops with children, young people and adults throughout the UK and abroad. She grew up in Africa, China and the Middle East before living in England, and now lives in Sussex.

Katherine Langrish

Katherine Langrish writes fantasy novels for children and young adults.  Her Viking trilogy, Troll Fell, Troll Mill and Troll Blood, was recommended in the ‘Top 160 Books for Boys’ compiled by the School Library Association, and was republished in an omnibus edition as West of the Moon in 2011.  Her writing draws on folklore and legends, and has often been compared with that of Alan Garner.

Katherine’s books have been published in many languages, and she also keeps a blog Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, where she writes about all things to do with folklore, fairytales and fantasy.