10 Things People Don’t Know About Shaila Abdullah

Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer, based in Austin, Texas. Her creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Her debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is a collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.

Among other accolades, the book won the Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award. Abdullah received a grant from the Hobson Foundation for her new novel, Saffron Dreams which is about the trials and tribulations of a 9/11 Muslim widow.

Abdullah has written several short stories, articles, and personal essays for various publications, such as Dallas Child, Web Guru, About Families, Sulekha, Women's Own, She, Fashion Collection and a magazine of the Daily Dawn newspaper called Tuesday Review, etc. She is a member of the Texas Writers' League.

A Pakistani-American, Abdullah is also a seasoned print, web, and multimedia designer as well. See a complete bio at http://www.shailaabdullah.com/bio.html

10 Things People Don’t Know About Shaila Abdullah

1. As a little girl, the Muslim author studied at a Catholic School in Karachi.

2. She had an arranged marriage.

3. The author self-published her first book Beyond the Cayenne Wall to resounding success.

4. Because of her father’s eclectic group of friends, she was exposed to various faiths, beliefs, and methodologies growing up. She once participated in a Buddhist chant of “Nam Yo Ho Renge Kyo”–– a mantra to bring out the Buddha inside––with a visiting Japanese couple inside their Karachi home.

5. She is deathly afraid of public speaking and as luck would have it, her first book reading was in front of hundreds of people at a fundraiser in New York where she was the guest of honor.

6. A voracious reader in her early years, she read the entire collection of her father’s New Age books by the time she was 12.

7. Staring at age 9, she wrote and directed plays during summer vacation for her older cousins and wrote and illustrated storybooks for her friends.

8. Her very first job was an interior designer’s assistant at the age of 12.

9. She is an award-winning designer but she flunked art in sixth grade.

10. She wore braces, glasses and a bad perm in eighth grade.

From the darkest hour of American history emerges a mesmerizing tale of tender love, a life interrupted, and faith recovered. Arissa Illahi, a Muslim artist and writer, discovers in a single moment that no matter how carefully you map your life, it is life itself that chooses your destiny.

After her husband's death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, the discovery of his manuscript marks Arissa's reconnection to life. Her unborn son and the unfinished novel fuse in her mind into one life-defining project that becomes, at once, the struggle for her emotional survival and the redemption of her race.

Saffron Dreams is a novel about our ever evolving identities and the events and places that shape them. It reminds us that in the midst of tragedy, our dreams can become a lasting legacy.

You can purchase her book at Amazon by clicking here!

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