Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Randa Abdel-Fattah
Born (1979-06-06) 6 June 1979 (age 37)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation Writer, Lawyer
Nationality Australian
Ethnicity Palestinian, Egyptian
Alma mater Melbourne University
Genre Fiction, School story
Subject Islamophobia, Islam, Muslims
Notable works Does My Head Look Big in This?
Notable awards Kathleen Mitchell Award
Children 2

Randa Abdel-Fattah (born 6 June 1979)[1] is an Australian Muslim writer of Palestinian and Egyptian parentage. Randa was born in Australia and her debut novel, Does My Head Look Big in This?, was published in 2005.

Early life and education[edit]

Abdel-Fattah was born in Sydney, Australia on 6 June 1979 of Palestinian and Egyptian heritage. She grew up in Melbourne and attended a Catholic primary school and Islamic secondary college, obtaining an International Baccalaureate. She wrote her first "novel", based on Roald Dahl's Matilda, when she was in sixth grade. As a teenager, she wrote short stories and produced the first draft of Does My Head Look Big in This? at about the age of 18.

Abdel-Fattah studied a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law at the University of Melbourne. During this time, she was the Media Liaison Officer at the Islamic Council of Victoria, a role that afforded her the opportunity to write for newspapers and engage with media institutions about their representation of Muslims and Islam. Abdel-Fattah was a passionate human rights advocate and stood in the 1998 federal election as a member of the Unity Party (slogan: Say No to Pauline Hanson). She has also been deeply interested in inter-faith dialogue and has been a member of various inter-faith networks. Abdel-Fattah has also volunteered time with numerous human rights and migrant resource organisations, including: the Australian Arabic council, the Victorian Migrant Resource Centre, the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council, the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.[2]


Abdel-Fattah is frequently sought for comment by the media on issues pertaining to Palestine, Islam or Australian Muslims. On Australian television, she has appeared on: Insight (SBS), First Tuesday Book Club (ABC), Q & A (ABC TV),[2] Sunrise (Seven Network) and 9am (Network Ten). She is a regular guest at schools around Australia addressing students about her books and the social justice issues they raise. She has been a guest at book festivals in Sweden (Gothenburg 2007; Lund's LitteraLund 2008) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur 2008). She has also toured in Brunei and the UK.

Personal life[edit]

Abdel-Fattah resides in Sydney with her husband and two children.[2]


Year Published Title About
2005 Does My Head Look Big in This? Sixteeny-year-old (Australian Palestinian-Muslim) Amal decides to wear a hijab as a full-timer, meaning that she would have to wear it in front of males who weren't immediate family. Can Amal cope with this big change in her life?
2006 Ten Things I Hate About Me Teenager (Lebanese-Muslim) Jamilah Towfeek balances two lives. At home she is Muslim Jamilah - At school she is Aussie-blonde Jamie with blue eyes (contacts). Jamie's school formal is coming up and her Muslim band is performing at the formal. The only way she'll be allowed to attend is by revealing her true identity. But who is she ... Jamie or Jamilah?
2008 Where The Streets Had A Name 13 year old Hayaat believes that a handful soil from her grandmother's ancestral home in Jerusalem will save her beloved Sitti Zeynab's life. The only problem is the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank, as well as the checkpoints, the curfews, the permit system, and Hayaat's best friend Samy, who always manages to attract trouble.
2010 Noah's Law Sixteen-year-old Noah is a trouble maker. He becomes involved in a case where a woman has been killed. Right and wrong, and crime and punishment are soon entangled as Noah realises that things are seldom what they seem.
2011 The Friendship Matchmaker Lara Zany spends all of her time helping other children at her school make and keep friends and is writing a manual all about it. When she has to find a best friend for the most ‘difficult’ client ever, she comes to see the true value and importance of friendship
2012 The Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover
2012 No Sex in the City


  1. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Panelist: Randa Abdel-Fattah". Q&A. Australia: ABC TV. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 

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