“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot,” said Stephen King, well-known American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels.
If someone starts taking interest in books when too young to even understand what reading or writing is, his or her efforts can do wonders. That is what happened with a young Pakistani girl in Qatar. She has brought out her first story book at just seven years of age.
Zoya Nabil, student of Grade-III, was born in Qatar and has been living here with her parents. The young and talented author has come out with her first book Unicorn Tales that contains as many as nine short stories for kids.
Gulf Times recently spoke with the young writer about how and when she started taking interest in writing stories.
Zoya started bonding with books at a very young age. Even when she couldn’t read or write, she loved flipping pages and asking what each picture meant. She also likes to draw and paint in her spare time and play video games.
“As I grew older, I was introduced by my parents to more children book series like Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and so on. I was always encouraged to read the original book rather than watch a movie adaptation. This inculcated the habit of book reading and I was able to build a unique connection with all the books and writers. Over time, reading books gave me lots of ideas and enhanced my creativity, which formed the foundation of story writing. Today I have a collection of nearly 100 books that I have read and re-read.”
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns offered young Zoya a lot of free time and she got into writing small stories.
“During the Covid-19 lockdown period, I was constantly encouraged to spend my spare time reading at least once during the day. Eventually, I started writing small stories about my favourite character – Unicorn. What started off as a mere activity turned into a hobby. As my interest in the character intensified, I started coming up with more ideas for the stories.”
Zoya believes that the lockdown period was the best time to finish writing the short stories. “With online education, no physical school, we as students were less exhausted during the day and had the leverage to enjoy other hobbies and activities on a daily basis. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and limited outdoor activities, it was the best time to pursue book writing. With constant encouragement from my parents, I was able to finish the stories in few months.”
Zoya’s father Nabil Iqbal is a professional banker. He motivated her further by promising to have her stories compiled and printed.
“Once I finished nine stories, my father and I along with a graphic designer, designed the book by putting appropriate illustrations alongside the stories.”
The book Unicorn Tales – Stories by Zoya Nabil has the stories based on much loved fictional character Unicorn and its adventures. With each story the writer takes the reader further into the adventures of Unicorn and its encounters with other people and animals.
“The stories are short, simple and imaginative, also easy to read and comprehend. The illustrations are interesting and bound to keep the reader engaged and enthralled.”
The purpose of compiling the stories was to show encouragement to Zoya’s efforts, to motivate her for future writings. “Furthermore, I hope that this book will encourage other kids to spend some of their spare time reading books. In this era, when children are occupied by gadgets such as tablets and mobile phones, it is important to keep the connection with books alive. This not only enhances creativity but also improves language skills. Through this book, I want to send the message to all fellow kids that nothing is impossible. A little dedication can lead to great achievements and all kids should try to read more books.”
Zoya is already thinking about a new series of stories, more adventures and more exciting stuff. “I have started to frame my ideas and very soon another interesting book will be available for kids to enjoy.”
Unicorn Tales – Stories by Zoya Nabil will soon be available in leading stores of Qatar.
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