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Out August 2021

A hilarious, heartwarming memoir of growing up and becoming oneself in an Egyptian Muslim family

For readers of Benjamin Law’s The Family Law and Alice Pung’s Unpolished Gem, this quick, clever, warm-hearted book introduces a talented new Australian voice.

Via Black Inc.

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Sara El Sayed

Sara El Sayed is a writer and Sessional Academic working at the Queensland University of Technology. Her debut memoir Muddy People will be published by Black Inc. in 2021. 

Sara is a current recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Award. 

Her work is featured in the anthologies Growing Up African in Australia and Arab-Australian-Other, and in publications including frankie, Overland and The Lifted Brow. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

She tweets @sarakelsayed.


Praise for Muddy People

‘Both cosmopolitan and Australian at the same time, Muddy People is like the best kind of cake: warm, sweet, a bit nutty – and made with so much love.’ —Alice Pung

‘Sara El Sayed's writing is fresh, vibrant and dynamic. This is the kind of mud that will dirty your hands and cleanse your spirit.’ —Michael Mohammed Ahmad, author of The Lebs

‘Muddy People is a nuanced, engaging and lyrical account of what it means to be Other in Australia, and its characters are impeccably drawn. Sara El Sayed is an enchanting and refreshing new voice in the Australian literary landscape.’ —Maxine Beneba Clarke

‘A beautifully told story of parents and children, pain and loss, and the love that binds people together. Told with real heart and charm, it will keep you riveted from the first page. Sara El Sayed is the most important new Arab-Australian voice in literature today.’ —Rohan Wilson, author of The Roving Party

‘It takes courage to write a memoir, but more than that it takes heart, and Sara El Sayed’s heart is generous and expansive. I gasped in recognition, I teared up in solidarity and I exhaled in relief – finally, a personal story that reflects so much that is familiar but is rarely found on bookshelves. This is the kind of memoir I have searched for in vain for years. Sara El Sayed has written a book both confident and delicate that will leave you eagerly awaiting her next. Read this!’ —Mona Eltahawy, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls

‘With elegant lyricism, compelling urgency and a dark sense of humour, Muddy People by Sara El Sayed is an impressive debut memoir … El Sayed’s coming to voice reflects her journey of self-realisation, of understanding what it means to be a migrant millennial.’ —Books+Publishing




Queensland Literary Awards

Sara is currently a recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship. Watch the 2020 Queensland Literary Awards ceremony here

Illustration by Kathleen Jennings


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