Got permission from the powers that be, that I can finally release the good news that I’ve been clutching to my chest all summer long!

Two things!

Which should I say first? The local or the international???


Let’s start local:

The Toronto District School Board has chosen me along with some other authors (I’m in very good company Masha Allah), as one of their WRITERS IN RESIDENCE!

Here’s their press release:

What an honour!!!

Masha Allah.

I’m so tickled!

They have a special program and some of the schools in the TDSB will get to draw lots as to whether they will receive a complimentary presentation from me!

The second bit of news is STATEWIDE!

Last year my novel Wanting Mor was on the Alaska Battle of the Books program.

And this year the Alaska Public Library System, Spirit of Reading has chosen me as their FEATURED AUTHOR!

You can read their Facebook post here:

And the librarian in charge said that they’re sending out a press release by the end of this week.

What another honour!!!

When I was thirteen my parents drove us to Fairbanks, Alaska, along the then, newly opened Alaska Highway.

At one spot we bought a bumper sticker that read: I drove the Alaska Highway. Yes dammit, both ways!

We had that bumper sticker on our green van for years and years!!!

We drove through the silent forests of the Yukon, where the silences were deafening!

We saw bears and moose and foxes and deer and lots and lots of purple fireweed!

And because it was summer, we waited and waited one night for Isha (the night prayer) time to arrive.

Till 1:30 am we waited, but the sky still glowed with the setting sun, and suddenly we saw it was getting bright again and realized that the sun was starting to rise–it never did get fully dark, so we went ahead and prayed Isha anyways.

We were in the land of the midnight sun.

We even went to Mt. McKinley, the tallest peak in North America that rises up to about 20,320 feet only about 9000 feet shorter than Everest, but unfortunately the sky was cloudy, and fully half of the upper mountain was lost in cloud.

But I still remember that bumpy ride in that school bus in Mt. McKinley national park, sitting beside that elderly couple who chatted in such a friendly manner all the way to the base of the mountain, seeing the white grizzly bear galloping across the tundra at a great distance, and seeing mountain sheep and deer as well.

(This is what it looks like on postcards but we only saw half of it–but it was still impressive!!!)

And then walking the cracked sidewalks of Fairbanks, at about 10:30 pm where the sun, shone orange from the side, as it was getting ready to set and it was a balmy 70 degrees.

I had read White Fang and Call of the Wild by Jack London, and it awakened within me a primal desire to abandon civilization and move to the frozen north.

Practicality of course prevented me. That and marrying a man from the Caribbean.

No way was he moving up there!

But look how my life has turned out??? I’ve had a chance to visit the Northwest Territories! And I’ve gone back to the Yukon! And now back to Alaska!!!

With my writing dreams come true!!!

I’ll be going in March of next year, Insha Allah.

There was even talk of dogsledding!


Can you just picture it???


Masha Allah, I’m so blessed!

And I might as well mention this too, I’m going back to Singapore insha Allah, for two weeks to work with the students of the American International school in Singapore.

Met the librarian from there (who I heard is on the Caldecott committee) while I was there in May, and she had read Wanting Mor as well and had absolutely loved it!

So within a period of around three months I’ll be going from the equator (Singapore) to pretty close to the North pole.

I’m visiting Sitka, Valdez and Barrow! (Barrow’s even further north than Inuvik which was, up to now, the furthest north I’d ever been). Look them up on a map! I did! Sitka is in the southern part of Alaska, Valdez is in the middle and Barrow’s right at the tippy tip north!

Oh, and somewhere in March there’s also a trip down to a school in Texas.

So busy busy! Alhamdu lillah!

Looks like it will be a very interesting year!