Onjali Q. Raúf

Onjali Q. Raúf was Writer in Residence from March 2021 until September 2021. In the role, she highlighted various political issues, from human rights to the environment to poverty and racism, and how these can be explored through books and writing – and how books can inspire us to take action too.

Onjali Q. Raúf is the founder and CEO of two NGOs: Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising people from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond; and O’s Refugee Aid Team, which delivers emergency aid and funds to frontline refugee aid teams in northern France and Greece.

Her first children’s novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, is a child's perspective on the refugee crisis and went on to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award in 2019. Her second children’s novel, The Star Outside My Window, tackled the impact of domestic abuse on children’s lives and was awarded the 2020 Diversity Book Award for children’s fiction. In 2020, a mini-sequel to The Boy at the Back of the Class, entitled The Day We Met The Queen, was released to mark World Book Day, and was shortly followed by the publication of her latest novel, The Night Bus Hero – a story which deals with the impact of homelessness and bullying.

After being appointed as BookTrust's Writer in Residence, Onjali said:

'I am deeply excited to be spending the next six months shining a light on those authors whose magical story-telling powers have made (and still make) me want to get up and act on an issue that matters to me deeply: issues that I hope will interest and matter deeply to you too.
And whilst I can’t wait to share the stories, both real and imaginary, that inspire me, I am also keen to expand my own horizons. Because what I really want to do, is learn from you too and hear about all the s/heroes in your neck of the woods working hard to make the world a kinder, better place to be in for all.
So come join me as of this year’s International Women’s Day, and let’s get thinking, asking, and championing amazing books written by amazing people, together!'

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