“I love stories because of my grandmother. She told me loads of traditional old stories and generated interest in me since childhood,” says Iman as she smiles with a childlike gleam in her eye. She started writing while in secondary school at the young age of 14. While in college, she discovered that writing short stories was her forte and securing the third place for the best short story competition in college gave her determination a huge boost.
Her first book was published when she started working. She soon turned her focus towards children and her story ‘Ahmed Making Halwa,’ supported by the Ministry of Culture, won the best short story in Oman in 2012. It is the story of a child named Ahmed who tries to make Omani halwa to cheer up his grandfather who used to make it in the days when he was younger and fitter. Ahmed’s father joins him in this fun-filled endeavour and makes it a family affair with learning and bonding. Iman takes the children on an enjoyable journey that focuses on the Omani culture and the importance of family values through this entertaining story. “I received extremely positive feedback from the mothers of kids who have enjoyed my story. It makes me want to write more,” beams Iman. She is currently pursuing her plan to have the story translated into English.
She feels that it is unfortunate that, though there are a lot of Omani writers, there aren’t many books written about their own country and its rich culture. “This is the main reason that I started writing along those lines. The short stories I write are about the dreams, aspirations, culture and traditions of regular Omani people,” says Iman. “I write in a manner that children can relate to and enjoy the stories.” She feels the richness of Omani culture needs to be given more exposure on the international scene. She resolutely believes that stories are a good way to generate interest and curiosity among children as well as adults. She also welcomes the change in trend as more and more Omani writers are beginning to create works entrenched in Omani culture.
Iman would like to use the multitude of hidden stories in the Sultanate for promoting tourism, as she is certain that it will greatly help in enhancing understanding of the country. She is extremely keen to write in depth about the varied culture and heritage of Oman for the benefit of both Omanis and others. Her focus promises to be on children as she feels that children need to be in touch with the richness of their own culture to instill in themselves a sense of pride and belonging. It also helps that Iman’s mature outlook is coupled with childlike enthusiasm and energy. She also proves to be a storehouse of amazing anecdotes and stories of Oman that leave you wanting more.
This author and storywriter is a computer engineer who works as an M&T Systems Engineer in Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). She is also the owner and co-founder of a small family business. “Setting up the business was a huge learning experience,” she states. “It was hard work and long hours after office hours.” She was able to stabilise the business venture before passing it onto her sister and she is keen on investing more time in writing in the future. Iman appears to have a flair for balancing multiple roles and she receives the full support of her husband and family. She plans to publish a book for children by the end of this year and she is extremely motivating to fellow writers, encouraging everyone to give their best for the country in whatever areas they choose. “Start small and build up towards greater milestones. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, as these are minor hurdles that will make you better at your craft,” smiles Iman with a wisdom that belies her youth. We wish her well in her noble, enriching and engaging endeavour.