A wordsmith at work

August 21 - 27 , 2019

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly A wordsmith at work

Teenage poet Fatima Saleem is penning a dark-romance novel and hopes her written work will inspire other youngsters to pick up the storytelling trade as a future career.

The 14-year-old New Indian School student is currently working on the first draft of her passion project which she hopes to complete by late August of next year.

“My mafia-romance novel is based on the underworld of violence, death and the danger that comes with it,” said the talented teen living in West Riffa. “It talks about second chances and how sometimes we need to fall before we can rise.

“I gathered my inspiration by reading books focusing on similar genres and I have also done research on elements, such as the mafia, that I am not familiar with.

“The personality and traits of some characters will be based on those of real-life people but obviously, other parts will be completely fictional and not real.”

This will be Fatima’s first novel but not her first publication. She launched a self-published poetry book, entitled Words for Bullets, in May on Amazon with a book unveiling and signing in July. The book is made up of a collection of poems tackling various topics such as heartbreak, depression and life through the eyes of a young girl.

“I wrote Words for Bullets in hopes that it would reach people, teenagers in particular, who are thriving despite difficult situations,” she said. “I wanted to let them know that they are not alone. Writing for me has always been a method of expressing myself and poetry, in general, has always spoken to my heart and my very soul.

“As a young girl, I loved indulging myself into creative writing and it evolved into essays and paragraph writing as time passed by and I grew up. Now in my early teens, writing short-stories, novels, poetry and avidly reading is what gets me by every day.”

Fatima is also working on her second poetry book which will feature a collection of her writings yet again, but with a twist.

“It will be very different from Words for Bullets as this one will feature illustrations and photographs as well,” she said. “I plan on launching it in early December next year!”

Fatima’s favourite writer is Rupi Kaur, an Indian-born Canadian poet, writer, illustrator, and performer, but her true inspiration is her parents. Her father, Saleem Iqbal, is the head chef for Shaikh Ali bin Isa Al Khalifa’s Royal Palace, and mum Nighat Saleem is a science and mathematics teacher at Al Manar Private School.

“My father, once upon a time, loved to write poetry and though his poetry days are now long gone…one might say I inherited my talent from him,” said Fatima. “My mother inspires me too, a lot. She is the strongest woman I know and her kind-spirit motivates me to become better more and more every day. I could only wish to be even a fraction of the woman that she is.”

Her dream is to one day become a major influencer in the literature world and hopes to travel the globe sharing her work as well as empowering people through her words.

“I want to become an author to present myself as an inspiration to the youth and to help them to reach high limits with no boundaries,” Fatima added. “I want to share my work with all in this world, to have them genuinely enjoy, learn, grow and heal from everything that I love to write. I think that writing is the most underrated form of talent these days, especially in young kids like me. People often think it is easy to play with words and formulate sentences but only a true writer knows how difficult it gets.”

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