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Open Right

Hanifa Deen

Author, Corporate, Curriculum Specialist, Social Commentator, Speaking Out

Hanifa Deen is an award-winning author and social commentator with extensive public speaking experience. Audiences all around Australia, at writers’ festivals, conferences, seminars and debates have heard her speak on a range of topical and literary subjects. A former History and English literature teacher, Hanifa can also guide secondary students to a better understanding of Australian curriculum themes of The Making of Australia, Identity, Belonging and Australian social history. Her aim is to inform and entertain.

Where were you born?

I was born in Kalgoorlie WA. I blame all that desert air for turning me into a ‘maverick’ and a Scheherzade-like spinner of real-life stories.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Australian Identity, Australian Muslims, Women in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Refugees & Asylum Seekers, Social Justice & Human Rights Issues.

What are you passionate about?

I’m a great believer in women reinventing themselves and admire disobedient women in literature, history and real life. I’m also a dab hand at subverting stereotypes — and passionate about reading and writing creative non-fiction literature.

What have been the highlights of your career?

I enjoyed my 5 years on the Board of Directors at SBS. The award for my first book Caravanserai had me over the moon; and I was ecstatic when my second book, Broken Bangles, was included in the top ten bestsellers list in 1998. I must also confess to feeling damned good following an ABC TV ‘Hypothetical’ with Geoffrey Robertson when the SMH reported that I’d nearly ‘clean bowled’ Mr Robertson.

What other jobs have you had?

Communicating, reading, analysing and writing are common features in all of my work. Currently, I am working as Chair of the Institute of Cultural Diversity, development mentor at Western Writers, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and editor of the online magazine Sultana’s Dream. My other jobs include:

  • Full-time author from 1994-present
  • Hon. Fellow, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne 2010
  • Writing Consultant, Melbourne Museum 2010
  • Research Consultant & Writer, National Australian Archives 2008
  • Seconded to Bureau Immigration Research, Melbourne 1992
  • Deputy Commissioner, Multicultural & Ethnic Affairs Commission, Western Australia 1987-1991
  • Seconded to Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission 1987
  • Director, Community Education Victorian Ethnic Affairs Commission 1983-1987
  • High School Teacher (History and Literature)

Where have your works been published?

In Australia, the USA and India.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I use humour as part of my speaker’s ‘arsenal’. This is important if you want your audience to trust you – even serious topics need their ‘lighter moments’. That’s why I’m such a fan of Mark Twain.

Hanifa is also available to speak in Sydney and Perth in 2016-2017.

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