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St Mary’s Graduate Wins National Literary Award

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Alumnus of the MA Creative Writing programme at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Muhammad Khan has won a national Irish literary award.

Muhammad has been awarded the Great Reads Award senior prize for his novel I Am Thunder. The Great Reads Awards are a literary award for debut Young Adult books, judged by readers and shortlisted by school librarians in Ireland. Muhammad was already writing I Am Thunder when he started the MA Creative Writing at St Mary’s, and it went on to become Young Adult Book of the Week in The Observer and Children’s Book of the Week in The Times.

He wrote the book in response to the story of the three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who fled to Syria to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State in 2015, and wanting to explore the lives of young British Muslims. Khan’s 15-year-old protagonist, Muzna, dreams of being a writer, but in the novel is drawn down a more dangerous path.

On the Creative Writing MA at St Mary’s, Muhammad wrote his second novel, Kick The Moon, which was published to critical acclaim in January of this year, with author Nikesh Shukla calling it “A powerful novel that encapsulates the experiences of teenage boys with wit and heroism”. 

Muhammad also recently returned to St Mary’s to deliver a writing masterclass to Creative and Professional Writing undergraduate students.

Programme Director of the MA Creative Writing Jonathan Gibbs said, “Muhammad was a wonderful student to have on the course, and it is a thrill to see him getting the recognition he deserves. We expect to carry on hearing – and reading – great things from him.”



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