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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Yasmine Jibril and mentor, M.T. Khan

Thursday, 6 January 2022  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina

Our mentors are mentoring, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase starting on February 9, 2021, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2021 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Yasmine Jibril – Mentee

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M.T. Khan – Mentor

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Maeeda, why did you choose Yasmine?

Whenever I take on a mentee, the first thing I look for is if their writing has a great voice. As a mentor, I can help with plot holes, pacing, worldbuilding, etc. but a writer’s voice is something that can really only be built and improved on by themselves. So when I read Yasmine’s manuscript, I was instantly pulled into its world by a lush and magical voice, and I knew then, that she had the foundation for a great story—I just needed to pull it out of her.

Yasmine, why did you choose to submit to Maeeda?

I chose to submit to Maeeda, because through her profile and recent work (NURA AND THE IMMORTAL PALACE), I felt her visions aligned with mine. Exploring the harsh realities of the Global South, both historical and current, is what I tend to focus on in my writing.

Additionally, she seemed like a really lovely person and a fantastic author. I just knew I wanted to work with her someday!

Maeeda, summarize Yasmine’s book in 3 words.

Lush evocative memories

Yasmine, summarize your book in 3 words.

Lavishly haunting adventure

Maeeda, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I’m a final-year mechanical engineering student with a flair for philosophy and tough questions. I drink about 3 cups of tea when I’m in writing mode. I have a hyperactive cat that I named after an element on the periodic table. My debut novel, NURA AND THE IMMORTAL PALACE hits shelves on July 5th 2022 from Little, Brown. My next project is a YA dark academia fantasy that beat me up, made me cry, and stomped on my bones—but I became a much stronger writer because of it.

Yasmine, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

Through Pitchwars, I look forward to gaining a better understanding of storytelling structure. When I first submitted, I was having trouble figuring out what was wrong with the manuscript and why I wasn’t so happy with it. This program is helping me put the puzzle pieces together and transform my book into something I can truly be proud of.

Yasmine, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I’m a Maghrebi (Libyan of Algerian descent) student-doctor, currently in my last years of med-school. I love science and history and culture, and these interests always present themselves in my work. I used to think my passion for both STEM and the Humanities was a hindrance, but now I see it only enriches the tales I tell.

My manuscript is an exploration of land and identity, colonial trauma, grief, resistance, and hope. It’s one of the few books that tackle colonialism and conquest head-on, while centring Northwest Africans under colonial occupation. It’s the desperate cries of millions silenced and the pain of the land that wept for them.

Draped against an alternate history simmering with magic, this book is a love letter to every Northwest African who wishes to see themselves in YA Fiction.

Check out M.T. Khan’s upcoming release, NURA AND THE IMMORTAL PALACE…

Aru Shah and the End of Time meets Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away in this mesmerizing portal fantasy that takes readers into the little-known world of Jinn.

Nura longs for the simple pleasure of many things—to wear a beautiful red dupatta or to bite into a sweet gulab. But with her mom hard at work in a run-down sweatshop and three younger siblings to feed, Nura must spend her days earning money by mica mining. But it’s not just the extra rupees in her pocket Nura is after. Local rumor says there’s buried treasure in the mine, and Nura knows that finding it could change the course of her family’s life forever.

Her plan backfires when the mines collapse and four kids, including her best friend, Faisal, are claimed dead. Nura refuses to believe it and shovels her way through the dirt hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself at the entrance to a strange world of purple skies and pink seas—a portal to the opulent realm of jinn, inhabited by the trickster creatures from her mother’s cautionary tales. Yet they aren’t nearly as treacherous as her mother made them out to be, because Nura is invited to a luxury jinn hotel, where she’s given everything she could ever imagine and more.

But there’s a dark truth lurking beneath all that glitter and gold, and when Nura crosses the owner’s son and is banished to the working quarters, she realizes she isn’t the only human who’s ended up in the hotel’s clutches. Faisal and the other missing children are there, too, and if Nura can’t find a way to help them all escape, they’ll be bound to work for the hotel forever.

Set in a rural industrial town in Pakistan and full of hope, heart, and humor, Nura and the Immortal Palace is inspired by M.T. Khan’s own Pakistani Muslim heritage.

Coming July 2022

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 9-14, 2022. Make sure to stop by then and check out all our mentees’ entries when it opens. 

 

Filed: Interviews

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