This is Randa's third novel. Her first novel, Does My Head Look Big In This, has been a huge hit both in Australia and Europe. You can read a review of this book published by a UK newspaper here. Randa followed this up with Ten things i hate about me, which in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Kathleen Mitchell Award for Young Writers. Notwithstanding Randa's novels are written largely for a young female audience, I must admit I know at least one male Sydney-based lawyer who has read and thoroughly enjoyed Randa's novels.
You can read interviews with Randa here, here and here.
Apart from lawyering and writing, Randa is also a human rights activist. You can read a speech she delivered on behalf of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign here.
Here's how Randa describes her third book ...
It’s about a girl and her journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. It’s an illegal journey because Palestinians aren’t allowed to travel freely. She goes to get some soil from her grandmother’s home, put in it a jar and bring it back to her grandmother who is sick. It tells of the massive upheaval and devastating impact this has in her life. I always knew I wanted to write a book about Palestine so it’s been a real challenge and an amazing journey for me ...For more information about the launch and to book your seat, click here. But be quick!
I used a lot of my own experiences but it was far more a work of fiction than my first two books. A lot of the instances of encounters between soldiers and Palestinians were based on documented cases. I spoke to so many people that lived there, escaped from there or had been kicked out ...
I’m at the crossroads now where I have to make a decision. One of the problems that I have encountered is that people typecast you as a Muslim writer. Unfortunately, to become more mainstream you have to write using Anglo characters because as soon as you don’t it becomes a niche market, a token multiculturalism. To say that this is a specialist book totally overlooks the message. These are Australian girls and their experiences are just as Aussie as others.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf