Huda Al-Marashi is the author of the memoir, First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story. Her other writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, al Jazeera, and elsewhere. Her first story for young readers, “Not Only an Only,” was featured in the celebrated anthology Once Upon an Eid.
“The emotional heartbeat is what matters to me most in any piece. I hope not only Muslim children, but all children, will connect with the struggles and life experiences of my characters. Children have rich interior lives that I strive to capture on the page, and as such, being Muslim is just one aspect of my characters’ full, multi-dimensional existence. I also want to offer Muslim children, growing up in the West with immigrant families, a place to see family dynamics that reflect their experiences, whether it be an extended family with grandparents or an aunt or uncle living at home, or the kind of role reversal to which all too many children of immigrants are accustomed. In doing so, I hope to offer immigrant children a place to see and also to reimagine their relationship with their elders. All too often, I see young people infantilizing their immigrant parents, equating their parents’ accents and unfamiliarity with American institutions with an inability to understand them and their lives in America. I believe storytelling has the power to remedy this by providing valuable context for experiences that might otherwise feel painfully isolating.”