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Open Right

Sarah Ayoub

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Social Issues

Sarah Ayoub is a journalist, author and academic researching intersectional literature. Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, ELLE, Marie-Claire, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books and more. She has worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing with the University of Sydney, University of NSW and University of Notre Dame, and recently completed a PhD examining the intersections of interventionist ethnic Australian YA literature. She is the author of Hate is such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee, the latter of which was longlisted for The Gold Inky, Australia’s premier teen choice award. Sarah is a Schools Ambassador with The Stella Prize, has mentored the youth curators of The Sydney Writers’ Festival YA program, contributed to the anthology Arab, Australian, Other and most recently been a judge for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Sarah’s forthcoming novel, The Cult of Romance, will be published by HarperCollins in March 2022, and her first picture book, The Love that Grew, will be out in April of the same year. She is currently working on her first novel for adults as the Writer-in-Residence of Sweatshop Literacy Movement.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sydney, Australia.

What other jobs have you had?

Sales Assistant, Advertising Account Executive, Freelance Journalist, Lecturer. Right now it seems like my bosses are my kids.

What themes are recurring in your work?

My journalism portfolio contains pieces on a myriad of topics, from health and finance to current affairs and women’s issues. My first book reflected the culture shock that I experienced when I left my monocultural school after 13 years and started moving through the wider world as a raced + gendered subject, and my subsequent books, essays and research have built on these questions of cultural identity and belonging – as well as the myriad of friendship and relationship experiences we have in our teens and beyond.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Getting letters and emails from teenage girls thanking me because my work made them feel valued and visible has been incredible. I’ve also loved taking my books + research to schools and writers festivals in Australia and abroad. When the Beirut explosion happened in 2020, I wrote an op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald asking NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to light up the Opera House in solidarity with the people of Lebanon who were suffering under a ridiculous political establishment. Others had also expressed the need to do it, and seeing the cedar projected on the harbour and being inundated with messages from people thanking me for the piece was awesome

Where have your works been published?

I’ve written for mainstream and literary publications like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and Marie-Claire, as well as the Griffith Review, Meanjin and Sydney Review of Books.

What are you passionate about?

The hows and whys of the world. I love to unpack things, and I see myself as a perpetual storyteller always digging deeper to better understand people, places and things that make the world the way that it is. I am also incredibly passionate about racial diversity in our arts industries. Oh and cake.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Probably – most likely at a restaurant serving an epic pasta dish or really yummy pastry.


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