Dubai: Fourteen-year-old Noaf Qaqish often imagined her own twist and endings to the stories she read during her long summer holidays.
At the age of 12, the Jordanian expat based in Dubai decided to write her own book.
“I wasn’t a big bookworm but I started reading more books during the summer holidays, and I always felt like there was a part of each book that could be changed or improved. That is when I wanted to see if I could write my own story with my own plot,” she told Gulf News.
The ninth grader is currently working on her third and fourth book simultaneously after publishing her first book titled ‘Wretched’ on Amazon.
Bringing together a mixture of genres including mystery, romance, fantasy and Greek mythology, Noaf’s first fiction novel, published at the age of 13, tells the story of two brothers who were struck by disaster when their home went ablaze. Known as the ‘less-gifted’ one, the younger brother flees the fire after losing his sibling, and is then left with riddles that lead him into an underworld full of evil monsters.
I wasn’t a big bookworm, but I started reading during the summer holidays. I always felt there was a part of each book that could be changed or improved and decided to see if I could write my own story with my own plot.”
- Nouf Qaqish | Grade 9 student in Dubai
“When my book was published on Amazon, I didn’t really care for the returns, I just wanted people to read my story, and wanted to know how it made them feel,” said Noaf.
Through sales on Amazon and among her Dubai community, Qaqish sold close to 200 copies in one year.
However, immediately after the success of her first book, she began to work on her second book titled ‘The fine line’.
“This book is a fantasy romance story about an angel who supposedly meets a devil. The devil is unaware of who he is and continues to figure out his true identity throughout the story,” said Noaf.
Publishing her book on Wattpad, an application that provides readers and writers a platform to publish their own stories, Noaf quickly gained a following and was able to interact with other authors of all ages.
Supported by her parents Tariq and Randa Qaqish, Noaf is using her time during the summer holidays to continue working on using her imagination to reach out to more young readers through her writing.
“Noaf is not the type of person to just sit at home and read, she is very good at school, is sociable and is the captain of the basketball team. The fact that she wanted to write a book and actually finished it shows how mature she is and that children can be good at multiple things all at once, I am very proud of her,” said Tariq Qaqish.
Noaf’s father, who had read her first novel, said he was engaged in her writing and enjoyed the mixture of genres.
Just the same, her mother, Randa, described her daughter as “self-motivated.”
“Parents usually try to push their kids to do and try different things, but I can truly say that we had nothing to do with Noaf’s writing. This is something she was motivated to do and continued, and we will always support her by giving her feedback and spreading the word to encourage more children to write,” said Randa.
Noaf, who wants to continue being a part-time author, has aspirations to become a children’s psychologist.
“The message I want to send through my books is that it doesn’t matter how experienced you are with writing, as long as you have imagination, you can create your own stories,” she said.
Noaf’s stories have been shared with lower grades at her school, Emirates International School Meadows, encouraging more students to take to writing.
Moving onto 10th grade this September, Noaf said she hopes to encourage more children and people of all ages to use their inspirations — whether they are movies, books, or even role models in their lives — to express themselves through writing.