Ruqaya Izzidien is an Iraqi-Welsh writer and graduate of Durham University. Her debut novel, The Watermelon Boys, is set in WW1 Baghdad and spans the Arab revolt against the British. It was released in 2018 and received a Betty Trask Award for first-time novelists under 35. In 2020, she served as the London Book Fair’s writer-in-residence in Sharjah. As a journalist, her work has appeared in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, the New Statesman, The New Arab, The National, and the BBC. She runs the blog, Muslim Impossible, which reviews stereotypical, racist and prejudiced depictions of Arabs and Muslims in television, film and literature.
“This award will go a long way in helping me to realise my current writing projects. It’s an honour to receive a Northern Writers’ Award, but it also means a great deal to me personally to witness awarding bodies recognising, supporting, and amplifying own voices in literature.”