Sunday, 27 September 2009

And a boy wins ...

Had a fab Saturday in sunny Luton.
The morning was spent at Luton Central Library where I was invited to announce the winner of the Zahra Character competition. Readers of this blog may remember I've been excited about this competition since the launch in July. I had lots and lots of entries to go through and it was difficult as some were so good but in the end I chose the entry which could slot easily into the Zahra series.

The winner is 10 year old Afzal from Beech Hill Primary School. His creation is 12 year old Aliyah who he described as a fair skinned, brown haired, friendly and graceful Muslim. She is special because she helps people by understanding their feelings and the reason Afzal gave as to why Aliyah from Luton should be featured in the Zahra books was because the people of Luton are very helpful. Isn't that sweet!
Oh, and the deciding factor that made his entry a winner was that Aliyah is an orphan!

Afzal wasn't at the eid event but a school rep was present and I shall be going along to Beech Hill Primary to present the prize along with Creative Muslim Network Director Shemiza Rashid who organised the whole fantastic event.

The winning entry will feature as a new character in my fourth book of the Zahra series, 'Zahra's Second Year at the Khadija Academy' which will, iA, be released in the summer of 2010.

In the afternoon I made my way to Dunstable Downs where an open air Eid Festival was being held for the local community. Bouncy castles, face painting, rock climbing - the list of fun activities for families was endless and a big congratulations to the sisters from the 'Muslim Educational Forum' for arranging such a successful event.

I enjoyed my own slots of story telling. Initially I had thought that I would be reading from the first chapter of 'Zahra's Great Debate' in a tent with a group of children. Imagine my surprise then when I was handed a microphone and given the stage to let my voice soar across the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside.

All in all a fab day and the Muslim men of Luton should be very proud of their women for all the work they do in bringing their community together, and for putting the best face of Luton Muslims forward.
Pictures are on the website,