Randa Abdel-Fattah, author of 'Does my head look big in this?' presents to Foundation Year students
Written by Nicki Sheridan, Website and Content Coordinator
It's not every day you get to meet the author of the book you are reading for English. On Thursday 30 August, our Foundation Year Unit 2 students had their chance when Randa Abdel-Fattah, the acclaimed author of Does my head look big in this? visited the City campus. Randa inspired students to take the time to be themselves and accept people for who they are not where they are from or what they look like.
As a young Muslim girl growing up in Australia in the 80's, Randa experienced firsthand the struggle many students face – how to negotiate identity in a world where you just want to fit in.
Her first book, Does my head look big in this? skillfully explores this theme by telling the story of Amal a seventeen year-old Australian-Palestinian-Muslim who is trying to overcome the struggle of her heritage and find her own way. Through Amal's friendships Randa also illustrates that regardless of your background and social standing, everyone experiences moments of self-doubt and that overcoming these hurdles is what enriches your life.
Randa Abdel-Fattah poses with Foundation Year students"For many students of a similar age, this time in their life is quite complicated – they are not quite independent adults and they are trying to negotiate their own ideas about life" says Foundation Year Director Anne Bright. "Randa's stories and her characters explore some serious themes of family, identity, race, religion and identity which preoccupy much of our discussions about what it is to be Australian."
Speaking openly and honestly to the students about how her own personal stories inspired many of the characters in her books Randa explained how she grew to realise that the diversity in communities and within families is what builds richness in culture and experience. When asked by a student if her friends and family minded having characters based on them, Randa laughed and replied, no they love it.
Randa's presentation was very timely as the Foundation Year students are studying the theme of family as the major focus for Unit 2 English.
As an Arts Law graduate, lawyer, writer, passionate advocate for Social Justice and mother of two, Randa is an inspirational role model to many of our Foundation Students who aspire to successful careers in many areas. In many ways she exemplifies the power of education to give multiple dimensions to our lives - for professional and personal success but also to contribute back to society.