Program Manager: Zaynah Qutubuddin

Zaynah Qutubuddin is a graduate of the Writing, Literature, and Publishing program at Emerson College where she earned her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) specializing in Creative Writing. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a double minor in biology/chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her short story “Bottling Sunshine” appeared in 12 Days of Book-Club-Mas Volume V from Once Upon a Book Club. She is currently working on her first young adult fantasy novel.

From Zaynah:

Muslims are not a monolith. We have many experiences to share and many stories to weave in a way that the world has not allowed us to express. There is more to us than 9/11 trauma, hijabs, and being called the T-word.  We want our children and children’s children to grow up in a world where they see themselves in the pages of not just the “Annual Muslim Day” book, but shelves upon shelves of every genre for every age featuring Muslim characters of every background. 

How will Muslim children see themselves in your stories?

“I hope Muslim kids will feel confident that they can be and are the heroes and heroines of fantastical adventures, thrilling journeys, and complex plots. Islam has a rich history full of scientific advancements and inventions, and many contributions to the modern world. With my fantasy worldbuilding inspired by some Islamic history, I hope they can learn about a past that isn’t taught and be proud of their identity as a Muslim.”

Zaynah Qutubuddin

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.