What a blessing to be able to celebrate Red & Crescent Moons’ first birthday! December 28, 2022 was the date of my book launch and so that is the date I regard as its birthday. Still feeling grateful for the kind crew at The Watershed Journal Literary Group. I reconnected with a dear cousin, Fatima Zahra Hassan (https://www.instagram.com/fzh_atelier/?hl=ena ), a consummate miniature painter whose beautiful art graces my book’s covers and chapter title pages. It is indeed connection that has been the most wonderful result of getting my work into the world; I’ve met fellow poets, readers, editors and publishers whose passion for words and books has continued to fuel my craft work. I’ve been on community television (https://www.bctv.org/video/tabassam-shah-7-12-23/ ), collaborated with jazz musicians on stage at the City of Asylum (https://www.crowdcast.io/e/response-jazz-poetry-2023 ), sold books at literature and book festivals and read poetry at independent venues which are keen to support local and regional writers and artists. It has been a wonderful to be a part of this celebration of the expressive arts. Many thanks for all who have supported me and purchased copies!
I continue to write and send off poems to various literature and poetry magazines, but the writing journey taking most of my time lately is an experiment in children’s literature. I have turned attention to representational literature for children, believing that it is important for a child to relate to the characters in the books they read. The diverse realities of children are important to portray and validation is powerful especially at young ages. My parents never read to me, but they did tell me stories from their childhoods in Pakistan. Their stories captivated me at a young age. Now I seek to write books my parents never had the chance to read to me and to write the books I wish I had access to as a child. I’ve been selected to attend the Muslim Storytellers Crash Course in Children’s Book Publishing hosted by the Highlights Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation; this opportunity has been a dream. To be among a community of dynamic writers with a background similar to mine has been amazing and I have learned quite a bit about the complex world of children’s publishing. I am hoping to have three picture book manuscripts by next year’s end. Watch this space for announcements! Dear friends, may all your goals in the new year ahead come to fruition!