Published, Baby!

Happy New Year, Guys!

So, I’ve been working on this post for some time but with Christmas, work, assignments and the New Year getting in the way it got really delayed. Also, it took a while for me to wrap my head around what actually happened and it was something very very VERY exciting! If I haven’t already spammed your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram news feeds, (sorry about that) you may have guessed from the title, that yes, I’M PUBLISHED! One of my short stories – The Cores – that I began writing in my first year of University has been printed in the pages of The Young Writers’ Anthology 2015 by Electric Reads – exciting! This is Electric Reads’ first ever anthology and that just made me feel even more honoured to be a part of it! It’s publishing companies like these that I absolutely adore because they search for those unknown British writers lurking in the shadows just waiting for opportunities to strike and they give them that chance to put a foot in the door of the world of writing – as it has done for me! And right now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! What a lovely way to end 2015 eh?


The paperback version of The Young Writers’ Anthology and also in Kindle format!


I highly recommend you all to pick up a copy of the anthology, not because my story is in there (who am I kidding, of course it’s because my story is in there!) But there is also a huge variety of raw, young, British talent out there that is featured in this one publication. As I was reading some of the other short stories within it I was immediately asking myself how I was considered to be chosen to be in the same category as this gifted bunch! Of course my mum will argue that mine is the best, so to keep the peace let’s all agree with her. Agreed? Good.  😉

On a more serious note though, if any of you are aspiring writers and want a platform such as this to get your name out there somewhere, here’s what I did.

*Cue my publishing journey*

I was lucky enough to stumble across the Electric Reads ‘Call for Submissions’ article on my creative writing university blog (Beyond the Walls) If you’re in school/college/university then taking a look at their creative arts programs for competitions and submissions is a good place to start. I saw this article in early September and when I saw the closing date was the 31st October I quickly jumped at the chance to apply for it!

I had taken a look-see at the submission guidelines – I can’t emphasise how important this is, for any aspiring writers, you could write an epic, amazing piece for a magazine/journal/anthology/article or whatever and it won’t be what they are looking for! So they’ll simply dismiss it and it will break your heart. Luckily, Electric Reads were looking for prose (my speciality!) and something unique, creative and original (not as easy to achieve!) Oh, and I had to be 25 and under and British so, from reading this I seemed to be ticking all the boxes that the submission guidelines consisted of – debatable about the originality part – and I instantly thought that my short story The Cores would be perfect for it. After drafting and re-drafting what I had wrote a year and a half ago I finally thought it was acceptable to submit (well, I wasn’t perfectly happy with it but then again I never am when it comes to my own writing!) So I submitted it a few days prior to the deadline.

A few days later. . .

To my surprise I received an email to say my piece had been SHORTLISTED! So that’s when I thought, wow! Okay, that’s it that’s as far as I’m going to get, to be shortlisted is such an honour and it’s something I can still put on my CV, always thinking ahead me! But as a shortlisted writer I was told by the publishing company that I still had to provide some details about myself like a short bio and a photograph! Believe me, the hardest part about this whole experience was trying to find a photograph of myself that didn’t make me look like a mug. We got there in the end, well, kind of.


After I sent all that the next step was just to wait. Yes, it was painful because whilst waiting I was thinking to myself ‘OMG, what if I was too ego-centrical in my bio? What if I really did look like a mug in my photo and they don’t want anything to do with me now?’ I’m an over thinker, okay? So after what felt like a year (I think realistically it was like 4 days) I received an email to say that I had been chosen within the top 25 to be PUBLISHED!!! That’s when it all started to feel completely surreal and everything moved really quickly. I was assigned an editor to work with and he read over my piece and returned it to me with feedback and suggestions of what he thinks I should change/add. This was a process I didn’t mind doing because I love constructive criticism, this guy is just trying to make my story better, how could I argue with that?! So within the course of about 2-3 weeks my story had evolved massively. After a final proof-read it was ready for print!

THEN, IT WAS THE DAY WE HAD ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! The release date came about on the 11th December and the anthology was first available in an e-book and then the paperback version followed it a few hours later on Amazon. Of course, mum was already on the job ordering her own copy and arrived at our door a couple of days later. The whole thing just felt so surreal (it still does!) I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. When we opened the book to my page (the biggest shock was seeing my face take up a whole page on all its own) but they were MY words printed in that book, MY story, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that feeling.


ALSO, I also had the privilege to be published alongside a fellow York St John Creative Writing student and friend, Bryony Eilish Porteous. She has had her short story The Drude printed in this anthology too and I have to say it is such a unique, stunning read! This girl is crazy talented in story-telling which is why you need to pick yourself up a copy!

And I think that’s about it! Hope you guys enjoyed the post and have an AMAZING New Year! All the best for 2016!

I xo






Confessions of an English Literature Student: September

Please note: All actions conducted throughout this post are not commonly practiced by all English Literature students – it’s just me, well I like to think other students do but I highly doubt it, so again, this is just me.

Let’s start at the beginning. It’s a few weeks before the start of 3rd year…

It’s the end of August. September is dawning. You remember you have a reading list, you haven’t read anything from that reading list, you don’t have any of the books on that reading list in your possession! – $@!% – You search for the books on Amazon but you find that they are cheaper on Ebay, score! Oh, second hand? You think, ‘ah, a few coffee rings, some creased spines and dog-eared pages, it’ll be okay.’ Add them all to your bag. Proceed to checkout. You want to pay extra for next-day delivery because you’re an idiot and you left it too late and need them as soon as possible. Turns out next-day delivery is more expensive than the books themselves – what?! – So you go back to Amazon. You see that Amazon works out cheaper (next-day delivery included)! – Better! – Proceed to checkout, pay, order confirmed – success!

The next day you are expecting the books to arrive. It’s not a clothes or shoes delivery, so you haven’t been hanging around the front door all morning or peering out of the windows waiting for a delivery van to park up – puh-lease like I do that anyway, who am I kidding? Of course I do that – but these are just books (spoken like a passionate English Literature student, eh?)

The books finally arrive. You unbox them to make sure they’re all there. Really you are secretly checking the thickness of each one, as you calculate how long it would actually take you to finish each one. Ah, you can get each one read in two days easy! In reality: Two weeks tops – give or take a few days – for each one. You place your mini library in a pile on your desk, you aim to start reading straight away. The pile isn’t touched for two weeks. The new term starts in two days. You panic. Time has gone too fast, you’ve been too busy…binge watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix all Summer. You pick up the slimmest book of the lot. By luck it is also the first book on the reading list. You begin to read it. The introduction is long, like really long. You skip that and find the first chapter. Eleven pages in you put the book down. It hasn’t enticed you yet so you think ‘time for a cuppa’. You make the tea. You sit in front of the TV.

Forty-four minutes later. The episode you have just viewed has ended on a cliffhanger. You’ve finished your tea…a while ago. You need to know what happens in the next episode. You reach for the TV remote, but then hesitate. You reach for the book instead, good girl. You tell yourself to read up until the next chapter. When you reach the next chapter the plot finally begins to get interesting, so you continue reading. Ah, false alarm, the book has hit a lull. The book gets placed down (again). You say to yourself ‘you love books, you really do!’

You tell yourself, you’ll read more tomorrow.


The confessional chronicles is a little something I thought would be fun to share with you guys. It’s basically an update of what I get up to at Uni (or haven’t got up to) but kind of like a behind-the-scenes version of all the kafuffle and chaos that comes along the way – I know every student at some point can relate with. Stay tuned for my first day of third year…

the bookworm finding it difficult to finish a book (oh the irony!)

P.S. I do love books, I really do!

University Book Haul: Semester 1

Does anyone else get excited as I do when that brown, flat packed, Amazon box slides through the letterbox? Landing with a deep, thunderous THUD on the floor of the hallway, echoing throughout the house and announcing its presence, letting everybody know – the books have arrived!

I am one month away until I am back at University for my third – and sadly my last – year for my undergraduate degree! Like all universities, they love it when their students are super duper prepared for upcoming modules and lectures which is why I have already received my reading list for the year (I actually got it a while ago but I only had a proper look at it recently, oops!)

So getting to the point, I want to show you my book haul for September from the reading list uni provided me with thinking that some of the titles may entice you so that you can read them with me!

So for the first semester I had the hardest decision of just choosing TWO modules from a massive range! As I am doing a joint honours course in creative writing and english literature I had to choose one for each, so in the end I decided upon 20th century writing and scriptwriting!

The 20th Century Writing module:

Just hover the images for the titles, author’ s names and dates!

The good thing about uni reading lists is that they tend to be novels that are unique and nobody has really heard of or read. They’re books that are not at the top of every book chart in Waterstones that every body in the world is reading, but instead they’re underrated, hidden gems that may become one of my favourites.

I love it when that happens!

Scripwriting module:

A shorter list but I feel that’s because these books are much more theoretical, if your into writing scripts and my creative writing tutors are recommending them, then why not give them a go (I must say the books they have previously advised us to read have improved my writing massively over the last year!)

Tip: For those who are thinking of or have already chosen English Literature to study, the advice I would perhaps give to you is pick topics/modules that you wouldn’t normally choose but make sure they still appeal to you in some way. That way you become much more open minded to other genres and it broadens your literature knowledge and understanding. Obviously pick ones that you know you would enjoy too! This balance of genres I found made it much more easier when it came to writing assignments, as a lot of the time books from all different genres can cross reference with each other.

P.S. If your into writing and would like some more tips and advice, I have titles of books that were a massive help throughout my second year of uni. Just comment on this post, email, tweet me, whatever you fancy if you would like to know any more information!

🙂 x – Iram



Happy Friday guys! I’ve realised that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a poem and considering that poetry was my least favourite form of fiction, I surprisingly have a notebook full of them just waiting to be shared! Weird how things change eh?

The majority of them still need a tweak here and there until I can be completely satisfied with them and here is one that I submitted as part of one of my uni assignments. I’ve always had a huge interest of the parallel and unknown worlds which I have read about or seen in movies and now I have set my heart on creating one for myself. My poem Rise is just a small creation drawn from this influence and to quote from my creative writing tutor, he stated Rise is more of an exciting place in the extent to which it gets the reader involved in making sense of the more fragmented and unexplained imagery.’

With that in mind, hope you enjoy! x


Wind creaks and cracks the ground
It starts with an eruption from the earth.
A tower that would reach the trailing tune of the
then continue to cough and
splutter its excess waste into the
An outbreak of several more, then another several,
they stand hand in hand
line by line,
some stand grand
some cower sheepishly.
Like the pipes of an organ
blowing off steam
against the orange flames that lick the atmosphere with

a fiery glow
and the wind continues to blow.


The Valley of Vines


A little dose of magic..

Lately I have been engulfed by the fantasy world of Princes, Princesses, Evil Sorcerers and Dragon’s, so much that I have even been dreaming about it – I’m not complaining though! And after watching and re-watching movies from my childhood (Peter Pan being my all time favourite, greatest line opener to – ‘All children grow up, except one.’) they all merged together and influenced me to write something that will hopefully open up the beauty your imagination brought to you as a child. Do you believe in fairy-tales?


She was chosen as a leader, the one with courage that never boasts and she sensed the danger of the land to be threatened by new hosts.

 Her silver hair and stony glare had lain upon a Prince so brave, just and fair. He must take control and save the land, but with a weakened soul and his trembling hand, a stronger force was needed from those with the ability to float.

‘You must go to them my Prince,’ she proposed ‘you must go to meet the Ghosts.’

 With a gaping mouth and widened eyes the Prince rose with fright and surprise, he wiped his good hand across his forehead and whispered,

But surely my lady the Ghosts would want us dead?’ With an icy grip upon his shoulder, the Lady with a grin pleaded the Prince to

‘Serve his land’ through lips so tight and thin. A fire roared silently in the corner of the room, it coughed and hissed and spit, as her steel hand compelled him slowly, to sit. With a wince he spoke so low and discreet,

What am I to do?’

She replies,

‘The Quest is simple my sweet, we are in search of a clue. The Valley of Vines is where all the answers lay, to the Ghosts who know all that is true. Time is precious so you must not delay our people are depending on you.’

 So the Prince, with great haste mounted his horse and began to ride for the woods that bloomed so wild. The Valley of Vines hidden in the dead of the wood surrounded by stonewalls that consisted of the stale scent of blood.

 In the thicket of the forest he continued on foot. The wood was alive with mischief, tricks and elves in search of loot. The staggered breathing of the Dragons, deep in their slumber led the Prince to tiptoe to the Iron Gate too high to crawl up or clamber.

 ‘Hello!’ He shouted, but no one was in sight when a sudden blast emerged and his body took flight! The Earth met his back and with a grunt and a curse he found the mighty iron open and through it he quickly dispersed.

 An eerie chill overcame the Prince, a flashback led to his withered hand; he violently flinched away from the cool air that pinched his skin so grand. About him the vines hung, giant and thick lingering like venomous snakes with their teeth ready to sink. Further ahead was a clearing in which a stone throne was placed. The pain in his hand began searing as he prepared for what he was about to face.

 The rock of the chair was smooth, with twisted vines wrapped around it like mothers protecting their youth. The Prince sat, his body rigid and cold, the presence of the Ghosts was strong, but a single one he could not behold.

I have a message from the Queen’ his voice was an icy gasp, if only one would allow itself to be seen then the sudden thought daunted that this was a trap!

The plant snaked and slithered about his waist, it tightened and squeezed until it was blood in his mouth that he could taste. No limbs would function; his arms lay in a state of paralysis preventing any discussion, his head has sunken. Frostbitten vines wrapped him up to endure a fate of frozen solitude, a handsome statue for all to view the consequences of treason, and what the Queen would do to you.

Hope you enjoyed it!

P.S. My sister and I went for a little nature trail (when I say ‘little’ I mean a six mile walk round some nature gardens! As I walked around the place I found began to find the surroundings more and more magical, the whole setting also tied in perfectly with The Valley of Vines. So stay tuned for my next post because it will be all about our adventure out there, spoiler alert: to continue with the fairy-tale theme, it involves some kissing of frogs! And some nature/landscape photography by yours truly!

Teaser for what is about to come – Deep into the woods we go…





Has anyone else just looked up at the sky when it was raining, and thought that all them drops are just little people having a little jamming session and are dancing their way down from the heavens?

No? Just me then.

The change of weather is starting to become a massive inspiration towards my writing. As we dive further into the chill of winter here is something that we all can relate to:


Released from the imprisonment of the cloud
gravity pulls and plunges it to Earth. Plink!
It hits the windowpane with a chilling sound,
like the way its long last cousin would hit the sink.

Yet its brothers and sisters still fall
pummelling down in all their transparency
wildly flung through the atmosphere they
call out for help until they have reached terminal velocity.

The Earth with endurance has thirst to quench
yet time stops a little for crystals to shower
upon us blessings and spells to repent,
patience is virtue for that dehydrated flower.

My head tilted up towards the heavens, I see
them spin and glide to their own special beat,
some settling there upon my cheek,
others pool and melt into one another by my feet.

I squint through each plop!
A stage of graceful dancers,
then the curtain drops.

As the Cold Dawns

As the drop in temperature is decreasing rapidly, this became an influence to put some poetry skills to the test. It showed me that anything can become an influence. Enjoy.


The Dawning Freeze

A blizzard slowly blows
from the chill of the far North.

The daunting cold bites onto dense clouds
And rides its way through the waves of the storm.

 The flakes are scattered across oceans and
white paper angels are torn and strewn

over fields ridden with specks of dandruff
and tease us with their icy pinch.

 The fiery hue of the leaves still glow
and will soon fall,

as the coldest winter of the century dawns.

Setting the Scene: Writer Vs. Photographer

Like all successful stories, the reader is unable to imagine the writer’s words without a form of scenery or setting taking place. One that oozes of fantastic atmosphere, rich with excitement and drama. Whether it’s an epic battle taking place in a far away galaxy. Or a romantic picnic by the riverside, scenes are key to be able to visualise the full effect, a place where you can see your characters play their part.

You are staging this story, how do you want your audience to see it?

A scene within photography follows a similar procedure. How would you want your viewer to see what you want them to see. A digital eye differs from the human eye, therefore it is the photographer’s job to structure the scene laid out in front of them into what they want the viewer to see. How a writer would have to consider the use of adjectives, similes, writing style in describing a scene whereas the photographer would substitute the use of words by working with lighting, angles and depth of field to produce the scene.

An experiment I conducted about the contrast and comparison of scenery between writer and photography is shown below:

They strode, swiftly and sweetly. With hair as black as a Raven’s feather, the two girls tiptoed and teetered along the concrete path without a glance backwards. Their white dresses billowed behind them in the cool, Spring air. They proceeded with their assigned role, bringing justice to the role of Bridesmaid in between the elegant architecture of a wooden cross-hatched fence. Dim shoots of light entered through the diamond constructed patterns of the fence, creating barely visible shadows. It enclosed them in narrowly as they walked away, delving deeper into the caged tunnel.

Do you have an image in your mind? Hopefully it looks similar to this:





Writing Exercise:
Create and describe your own scene, anything you want. Add characters if you wish. Use any form of writing method you feel comfortable with but remember to think about your audience, what do you want them to visualise? After this take on the task of capturing this scene with a camera, a from as professional as DSLR or as simple as a camera phone – the choice is yours! But try to capture the aspects of this scene of how you wrote it, turn the written word into a reality. However, is this proves to be difficult swap it around – take the photograph of desired scene and then write about it. Allow the visual imagery to be converted into words. 

Fake Paradise

Living with an Arabic name in the Western World. There is bound to be some confusion there, if you have an awkward name just do what I did – write a poem about it.

Fake Paradise


‘Iran’ was scrawled ever so credulously on the side of my Starbucks cup.
The smiley face doodled aside it was obviously
Mocking me.

Little do they know
That I grow in Eden.
I am made up of roses of every colour
As far as eyes gaze.

Where Angels dance and play, within
The beauty I continue to flower.
I ripple and ride in a heavenly state,
Drifting away.

Flowing beautifully
Serenely and smoothly, my
Waves crash.
I am a source that Bliss derives upon.

Yet Earth holds me
I only met the Angels

Plunging into a fake Paradise
As my spirit dwells
Where Angels laugh and cry.

Where ‘N’ would be ‘M’
Earth battles Heaven for my existence,
And wins.
Maybe Starbucks is not so wrong after all.