Literary Festival For Young Minds

God Almighty compares the essence of Deen (religion) to Sibghah (colour) and urges us to immerse ourselves in the divine colour of Allah Almighty. In line with this profound analogy, Strive UK is thrilled to announce the Sibghah: Literary Festival for Young Minds.

The festival is designed for children between the ages of 8 to 18 years. This exceptional event is tailored to commemorate and reinforce our responsibility by cultivating a deep love for reading and critical thinking, ultimately inspiring and empowering future generations.

Mark your calendars for April 20, 2024, as the European Islamic Centre in Oldham becomes the vibrant hub for this extraordinary literary extravaganza. We believe in utilizing the transformative power of literature to nurture and empower young minds. Join us for a day filled with the opportunity to meet renowned authors, indulge in captivating storytelling sessions, participate in engaging creative writing workshops, and much more.

🗓 Date: Saturday, 20 April 2024
🕙 Time: 11am to 5pm
📍 Location: European Islamic Centre, 79 Manchester Rd, Oldham, OL8 4LN

Featured Speakers

Dr. Selma Dabbagh

A distinguished British Palestinian novelist based in London, achieved acclaim with her debut novel "Out of It", celebrated across various regions and named a Guardian Book of the Year, and has been translated into multiple languages. In 2019, she won the Premio Opera Prima in Italy, further solidifying her literary stature. Selma edited "We Wrote In Symbols", an innovative anthology showcasing Arab women writers, published by Saqi Books in 2021. Her numerous short stories have appeared in reputable journals, earning her several nominations, including for PEN and Pushcart Prize, and she has also contributed to radio plays broadcast by BBC Radio 4 and WDR, Germany. Her scholarly achievements include a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, and her work with the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians illustrates her commitment to combining literary excellence with socio-political engagement.

Sara El-Awaisi​

The Secretary of the Academy for Islamicjerusalem Studies (ISRA) in the United Kingdom, who is also the founder of "Aqsa for Kids". Holding a Masters in Education and Innovation from Dundee University (2018), a Masters in Islamicjerusalem Studies from Aberdeen University (2010), a Diploma in Islamicjerusalem Studies (ISRA) and a BA in History and Politics from Dundee University (2005), their educational journey is comprehensive. As the Secretary of ISRA, they contribute significantly, co-authoring the children’s curriculum for Future Leaders on Bayt al-Maqdis and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Beyond academia, they're a captivating storyteller, specializing in tales of prophets and Al-Aqsa Mosque, offering training on the “Curriculum for Future Leaders” to both parents and educators.

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

Writer, poet and educator disrupting understandings of history, race, knowledge and violence. She works to equip herself and others with the tools and faith to resist the unliveable conditions we find ourselves in and work towards another reality. Her latest book, "Seeing for Ourselves: And even stranger possibilities" came out in 2023. She is also the author of "Tangled in Terror: Uprooting Islamophobia", and a poetry collection Postcolonial Banter featuring eight years' worth of poetry including her viral poem "This is Not a Humanising Poem". She has also written for "The Guardian, Independent, Al-Jazeera", and gal-dem, hosts the Breaking Binaries podcast (on hiatus), and has essays in multiple anti-racist anthologies including "I Refuse To Condemn" and "Cut From The Same Cloth?" as well as her co-authored debut work, "A Fly Girl’s Guide to University: Being women of colour at Cambridge and other institutions of power and elitism". She was runner-up in the National Roundhouse Poetry Slam in 2017

Dr. Naoki Yamamoto

Assistant professor at the Graduate School of Turkic Studies at Marmara University in Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Asia and Africa Studies, Kyoto University in 2018. His expertise is in Ottoman Tasawwuf and traditional Japanese culture. His publications include a Japanese translation of Sulami’s "Kitāb al-Futuwwa" and Introduction to "Tasawwuf: A Comparison with Shonen Manga (Shueisha Web Essay Series)". He specialises in the field of Manga graphic novels focusing on Shounen manga, a genre that emphasises character development and specifically aims to bring up the younger generation with a sense of morality. In his works, he uses mesmerising drawings and illustrations to tell a story by embracing craftsmanship, spiritual growth and anti-authoritarianism. He believes that manga and anime in particular can be a bridge to educate the younger generation to understand Islamic teachings.

Hiba Noor Khan

British Muslim writer and activist, deeply engaged with issues in development, immigration and intercultural understanding. She is the author of "Inspiring Inventors Who Are Changing Our Future", "Safiyyah’s War", "One Home: Eighteen Stories of Hope from Young Activists", "How To Spaghettify Your Dog: and other science secrets of the universe" and "The Extraordinary life of Malala Yousafzai". Her academic background is in Physics and Engineering and she completed her postgraduate study in 2015 at the University of Oxford. Since then she has worked as a Refugee Advocacy Worker for The Children's Society, a Physics teacher and TV presenter. She also contributed to policy research carried out by the Government's Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life. Hiba has worked on various sustainable development projects in rural Tanzania, and delivered aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey

Burhana Islam

Born in Bangladesh, raised in Newcastle and currently residing in the outskirts of Manchester, Burhana Islam is a storyteller who is passionate about exploring themes of heritage, belonging, identity and faith in her work. She studied English Literature at Newcastle University before deciding to become a secondary school teacher, sharing her love for stories with a new generation of curious, young minds. MAYHEM MISSION (Knights Of, 2021) was her debut children's fiction book, and went on to win the Tower Hamlets Book award 2022 and the Fantastic Book Awards (2023). She is also the author of THE DASTARDLY DUO (2022) and THE BIG BREAKOUT (2023), as well as the widely celebrated AMAZING MUSLIMS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Puffin, 2020).

Mafazah Sharafuddin

Mafazah Sharafuddin is a 22-year old poet, multi media artist and literature enthusiast. Currently a student of the "Comparative Literatures and Culture" Masters program at the University of Bristol, her love for writing and literary studies has trascended the enjoyement of other people’s work and pushed her to create her own. She is the author of two anthologies, her most recent being In Memoriam, a collection of poetry and art created during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Radiya Hafiza

Radiya Hafiza studied English Language and Literature at King’s College London and worked in publishing for a few years. She is behind the fantastic blog "The Good Assistant". She grew up in Hackney and now lives in Essex with her family. Radiya grew up reading classic Western fairy tales that never had any brown girls in them. She is the author of Rumaysa: A Fairytale and Rumaysa: Ever After. Rumaysa: A Fairytale was published by Macmillan Children's Books in 2021, bringing such stories to children who need to see themselves represented. Rumaysa was also Waterstones Children's Book of the Month. Her latest novel, Aya and the Star Chaser, continues to bring stories to children who need to see themselves represented.

Dr Marchella Ward

Dr Marchella Ward is a lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University. She is an expert in Greek and Latin languages and literature, theatre and mythology. Having taught at the University of Oxford, Goldsmith and the University of London, Dr Ward has held workshops on theatre, history and the classics for children in coordination with several schools. She is also the author of several children's books namely Beasts of the Ancient World and A Journey through Greek Myths. She also writes frequently for the Guardian and in the Times Literary Supplement.