Amal AwadScreenwriter | Author

Amal Awad is a journalist, screenwriter and author. Amal co-wrote the 2019 film A Good Family alongside Fadia Abboud. She is in development on a number of television projects including Over My Dead Body and The Sienna Felix Files (Buster Productions). Previous projects include Sex in the West (eOne), Muhammed Jones (CJZ), and Daughters of Fate (CJZ). She has also co-written a feature, Halal Pie.

Amal’s latest book, In My Past Life I Was Cleopatra (Murdoch Books) was published at the beginning of 2021. Her other books include, Fridays With My Folks (Penguin Random House, 2019) a work of non-fiction that delves into the experiences of ageing and illness, and Beyond Veiled Cliches: The Real Lives of Arab Women. Her novels include Courting Samira and This Is How You Get Better, with her next novel, The Things We See in The Light,  due to release in 2021 (Pantera Press).

Amal has written three short films – My Sister’s WeddingThe Dury’s Out, and The Doorknock Appeal. She has been a columnist for SBS Life, and has written for ELLEFrankieDaily LifeSheilas and Junkee. Amal has also produced for ABC Radio National.

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Amal Awad’s life changed when her father was diagnosed with kidney failure. It was a shock to see the impact it had on him, both physically and mentally, and the way the side effects trickled onto those around him. Work had always made him feel whole and retirement was a challenge.On a mission to help her father and support her mother, Amal began spending every Friday with her parents. She saw the gaps in discussion around ageing and sickness. Amal’s personal experiences prompted her to explore how Australians are ageing, how sickness affects the afflicted and those around them, and what solutions exist when hope seems lost.

Fridays with My Folks shares heartfelt, honest stories that will help others who are in similar positions. People who are having to reorient themselves when the boat has taken a battering and they have to take a new direction. This book stems from personal experiences, but it expands to a much wider, more universal discussion about life, suffering, coping and hope.

Published by Random House Australia [To purchase, go to Publisher]

Amal Awad spoke with women in the Arab world and Arab Australian women to discover what their lives are really like. The breadth, variety and beauty of what she discovered will surprise you.

As someone who has a foot in both the Western and Arabic worlds, Amal set out to explore the lives of Arab women, in Australia and the Middle East, travelling to the region and interviewing more than sixty women about feminism, intimacy, love, sex and shame, trauma, war, religion and culture.

Beyond Veiled Clichés explores the similarities and differences experienced by these women in their daily lives – work, relationships, home and family life, friendships, the communities they live in, and more. Arab-Australian women are at the intersection – between Western ideals and Arab tradition. It can get messy, but there is also great beauty in the layers.

In a time of racial tension and rising global fear around terrorism, there is a renewed fear of ‘the other’. At its heart this fascinating book normalises people and their experiences. The breadth, variety and beauty of what Amal has discovered will enthral and surprise you.

Published by Random House Australia [To purchase, go to Publisher]

“So I was turned off a suitor when I saw his shoes. Despite the Arab warrior preference, I didn’t really care about looks. But I had a general rule: if the suitor came in wearing shoes with tassels, a leather jacket circa 1982, and/or a moustache, the doorknock appeal would fail from the outset. A girl has to have some standards, right?”

It may be the 21st century, but who says courtship is obsolete? Coming from a (not-quite- traditional) Muslim family, 27-year-old Samira Abdel-Aziz knows all about it. But as an assistant at Bridal Bazaar magazine, she’s pretty sick of all things wedding-related. Surely there’s more to life than suitors and marriage?

Then Samira unwittingly becomes wedding gofer for her cousin/nemesis Zahra and her life begins to resemble a Spanish soap opera – minus the skimpy clothing and the bitch-slaps.

This story is a light-hearted but honest peek into the life of a young, single Muslim woman living in Sydney – the joys of a blossoming romance (all very proper), the courtship rituals (so Jane Austen), the struggle with career and, of course, Arab Guilt.

Self-published, available from Booktopia

Guilt is an emotion for which I have no time. It’s exhausting, stops you from having any fun, and is the equivalent of one of those T-shirts that says ‘I went to [insert adventure] and all I got was this lousy T-shirt’.”

In recovery mode after a messy divorce from a non-Muslim man, Lara Abdel-Aziz is estranged from her family and out of touch with her best friend Samira. Local guitar player Leo is good company, but her only other interactions are with her mostly-absent flatmate Icky, and new age store owner Angela, who wants Lara to work for her and get in touch with her higher self. Lara is comfortably on autopilot until a near-assault at work forces her into counselling and she must start to unpack the events of her life and make peace with the past. Meanwhile, an unexpected encounter with Hakeem, the strict religious friend once in love with Samira, leads to an unlikely connection. As an attraction develops between them, they both begin to repair their broken lives.

This is How You Get Better is the sequel to Courting Samira.

Self-published, available from Booktopia.

For as long as humans have existed, we have consulted everything from the stars to stones with symbols on them. Growing up in an Arab Muslim family, SBS journalist and TEDx presenter Amal Awad was keenly aware of the unseen forces at play in her life – superstition, fatalism and magical jinn were more real to her than any Hollywood fantasy.

From religious devotion to New Age love and light, Amal has tried … a lot. While this doesn’t make her an expert in healing your life, it does makes her a well-versed one, fluent in the boundless healing modalities on offer in our ever-expanding retail universe. From psychic mediums and spirit guides to Paleo diets and empowerment, there are questionable (and downright fraudulent) solutions being sold to the masses. Yet, arguably, there is still a lot of good to be found in these offerings.

In this funny and shrewdly observed book, Amal shares her personal journey to peace and empowerment via a wide array of psychics, healers and witches, considering the smorgasbord of spiritual thinking on offer for people wanting to #livetheirbestlife and exploring whether these practices can help, harm or both in the quest for spiritual enlightenment.

To buy In My Past Life I Was Cleopatra, click here

In the cafe, I watch as a woman takes a photo of her plate – an impressive, glossy lime-coloured dessert with shards of chocolate perched on top. I want to feel that ease and confidence, too. Like this is my city again, and I know my way around it.

Eight years ago, Sahar pursued her happily ever after when she married Khaled and followed him to Jordan, leaving behind her family, her friends and a thriving cake business. But married life didn’t go as planned and, haunted by secrets, Sahar has returned home to Sydney without telling her husband.

With the help of her childhood friends, Sahar hits the reset button on her life. She takes a job at a local patisserie run by Maggie, a strong but kind manager who guides Sahar in sweets and life.

But as she tentatively gets to know her colleagues, Sahar faces a whole new set of challenges. There’s Kat and Inez, who are determined that Sahar try new experiences. Then there’s Luke, a talented chocolatier and a bundle of contradictions.

As Sahar embraces the new, she reinvents herself, trying things once forbidden to her. But just when she is finally starting to find her feet, her past finds its way back to her.

To buy The Things We See in the Light, click here.

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