Najwa Ali stunned us all with her talent when she won Room’s 2013 creative non-fiction contest. Her piece “Writing, In Transit” was selected by contest judge Betsy Warland for top prize and was published in issue 37.2 Expanding the Voice, where Betsy described the piece as “a gripping, emotionally intelligent, formally and critically provoking narrative.” Now Betsy Warland has selected Najwa Ali as featured reader on Oscar’s Salon online, along with guest writer Denise Chong.
“As you likely know, Room's shortlisted pieces did not have the writers' names on them so I didn't realize that Najwa had been following my work for some years until a few months after the contest winners were announced,” Betsy Warland said. “Following the contest, we corresponded a bit and Najwa told me that she had been reading Oscar’s Salon and was mesmerized by it. She posted a comment on Oscar’s Salon on December 2013." Najwa Ali has been actively commenting this month on Betsy Warland's Oscar's Salon, stirring up conversation among other writers and poets.
"We both found we resonate a lot with one another's writing. I think we recognize that we are each a writer/person-of-between who is committed to writing in the public voice about disturbing social and political events and mindsets," added Betsy Warland. The Growing Room Collective is happy to have brought these two writers together.
Najwa Ali will also have a poem in our upcoming issue 38.1 In Translation issue which will be released in March, 2015.