Monday, July 8, 2019

Aminah Mae Safi

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer. Safi was the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest, and that story appears in the anthology Fresh Ink. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner and cat.

Her new novel is Tell Me How You Really Feel.

Recently I asked Safi about what she was reading. Her reply:
In terms of Young Adult, I've been reading If I'm Being Honest by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberly which has a great heroine— the mean girl who is usually the villain of most YA books. So I love turning that trope on its head. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, which is a fantastic just one day kind of story— it's Roman Holiday with a K-pop star in Hong Kong. And When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey, because she's such a master of creating ensemble casts where you can keep everyone separate in your mind and understand all the character's underlying motivations and wants so cleanly. I love reading to learn a new way of telling a story and a more masterful way of cleaning up my own work.

I recently read The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson and I keep thinking about the ways memory and space and experience shape us. The ways in which how we tell stories about ourselves and our lives provide the foundation for how we see not only ourselves, but the world around us. But Wilson always manages to remind me the power of story.

I’ve also been reading a good amount of poetry for research for my latest book and Rapaces by Joyce Mansour was particularly vivid and haunting. Beautifully angry femme Surrealist poetry.

And then I finally got to dive back into the world of Lyra and His Dark Materials with La Belle Sauvage. I love the world that Pullman has built and I love the way his stories are just this slow ramping up. They're really like that old adage about boiling the frog. Where the layers just slowly add and add and the heat slowly turns up and suddenly we're on this boiling, insane, fast-paced adventure despite Pullman's having taken so much time to set the scene and set up his world. It's a master class on not skipping the exposition while also keeping the reader engaged.
Visit Aminah Mae Safi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue