Storyteller: Haneen Oriqat
Haneen Oriqat is a Muslim Palestinian-American writer, editor, and photographer. As a child of diaspora, her love for travel and her adoration for the moon and the ocean are infused into her stories in search of home. She is the author of How Did We Get Here? City Heights, a graphic novel for The AjA Project that is part of a comic book series supported by Urban Habitat.
With an MFA in creative writing and BA in political science – international relations, she writes about issues of race, religion, gender, and identity. Her work has been featured in The Manifest-Station, Everyday Feminism, Angels Flight ∙ literary west, This is Worldtown, and BuzzFeed Books. She was also selected as a finalist for Voyage YA Journal’s First Chapters Contest for Women Writers. Haneen is a fellow of Highlights Foundation’s first Muslim Storytellers Fellowship and VONA/Voices for writers of color. Along with her writing aspirations, Haneen is the Operations Coordinator for Electric Postcard Entertainment and Cake Creative Kitchen, an IP story development entertainment company dedicated to bold and diverse storytelling.
Haneen was born and raised in San Diego, California. Despite her sarcasm and unhealthy amount of coffee often getting her in trouble, she is always working on a few manuscripts. You can find her at haneenoriqat.com and on social media @haneenoriqat.
How will Muslim children see themselves in your stories?
“I want my Muslim readers to pick up my books and feel a connection to the characters. I want my Muslim readers to be proud of their faith and identities and be confident in sharing this with the world. I want to normalize seeing Muslim children and teens falling in love with their faith while they navigate the complexities of life, from growing up in immigrant households and striving in school to learning to cope with mental health and understanding that their joy is a form of resistance against all the fear and hate they may face. While they may be growing up in a country that wants to benefit from their cultures without wanting them to feel like they belong, I want Muslim children to read my stories and believe that they are an essential part of the communities that they inhabit. I want them to believe that they can thrive in any field and in life while still being visibly Muslim. I want Muslim children to love who they are.”