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I was published in my university’s literary journal this week! It was pretty exciting because it had a bit to do with Uyghurs so I felt like I was raising a little more awareness. Plus, I won the poetry prize, which means more people would read it and my poem was the first one in the book. I also received a $100 gift voucher for the school’s bookshop! I can probably buy 4 books with it. Or half a textbook lol. (Don’t buy textbooks it’s a waste of money).

Anyway, the bookshop hosted a launch party for the publication and I had gone just to get a copy of the journal and have some good cupcakes and falafel. As I was leaving, I decided to thank the editors for publishing my poem and was told not to leave because *hush hush* I’d won the prize and they needed to announce it. So I waited, only to hear “and the poetry prize goes to… Jamaana Abdu!” Confused, I still went up and collected it, and coming back down I meet the real Jamaana. She was confused to – she hadn’t written a poem, she was listed to read her story soon. The names had gotten mixed up. And that’s how we had the only three hijabis in the bookshop (yes, the head student editor this year was a hijabi!) come together in cacophony of apologies, confusion, and congratulations, with a few “alhamdulillah”s thrown in there – and relief that the prize had gone to the right person: “wrong name, right person! wrong name, right person!!” she went, off to tell her boss that all was good.

And all was good. I received a coaster as a consolation gift (not that I needed consolation) and then my brother and I were off to celebrate with Uyghur food. It was a memorable night, to say the least.

Here are the screenshots of the poem:

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