My first publication, written in the wake of the Prof. Hawkins story and the first Trump-inspired spikes of Islamophobia and racism, was “That Other Hijab Story,” published in the small northern California literary magazine From Sac in late 2016. It was a serious accomplishment, more than twenty years in the making, and the first of many more publications to come.
My only regret is that, while From Sac is a beautiful publication that honored my work as I felt it deserved, it is also a small regional publication, available only in beautiful print production, not online.
That’s why I’m thrilled to now be able to tell you that “That Other Hijab Story” recently won an award in the Thirteenth Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing, taking first place in the category
Culture and Ideas
The best story or essay about how art, history, currents events, fashion, or music affected a traveler or a trip
Most often, though, people just give an all-encompassing wave from my head to my toes and leave the words up to me. “The hijab? No, I did not wear hijab. Except in mosques, of course. And that one time when my student’s grandfather who had been imam of a local mosque for twenty years wanted to speak to me, and his daughters asked me to wear hijab so that he would be comfortable sitting in the same room.”
“You weren’t pressured to cover up otherwise?”
“No.” Except for that one time that I never talk about.