A conversation with Naqiyah Hasan, a young author

The author of “Feather People” shares her writing journey and gives advice to young writers.


Author Naqiyah Hasan poses for the camera with a warm smile

Musfira Mohamed, News Editor

Naqiyah Hasan is a young author, who is currently pursuing a BFA in Creative Writing while also freelancing as a content writer. She is passionate about producing genre-bending stories that she describes to be, “descriptive, transcendental, persuasive and intimate.’’ Her achievements transcends the ordinary with the publication of her debut novel, “Feather People” the age of 16.


Hasan’s writing journey

Hasan’s writing journey started at 9 years old with her best friend. They bonded through creating stories that reflected the content they had read. Her hobby then progressed into a passion that she says, ‘‘Without which I can’t imagine my being or my life.’’

Since then Hasan expressed that her writing has developed to produce a more mature narrative, along with an underlying theme of “memory.” 

At 16 years old, during her 11th grade high school, Hasan produced her debut novel, ‘‘Feather People.’’  The novel follows the story of three characters, Ruth, Lexy and Maura. Their vastly different lives unite through unexpected turns of events. The story explores the life of struggle, the baggage of secrets and the reward of friendship.

When asked about her inspiration for this book, Hasan voiced, ‘‘I’m inspired by my personal experiences and observations. I pay attention to the little details and the stories that other people have to share. Most people have really interesting stories to tell when you listen carefully.’’

Hasan shared her experience with the production of “Feather People,” which revealed to be a journey filled with hindrance. Starting with the writing, a problem with the plot almost led to the abandonment of “Feather People” as a whole. “I was stuck. I didn’t know how to go forward with the plot and I was nervous about reaching the end,” she said. Fortunately, a break and letting time do it’s duties deemed to be the best medicine to the writer’s block. “It helps to disengage when your mind feels completely blocked and then get back to it with a fresh pair of eyes,” she explained. Thus, with the passing of time and the adornment of a new perspective that follows, a writer can be refreshed to resume his/her works. 

After a 6 month process, the tedious process of editing emerged. Hasan voiced that editing was a “patience-tester,” with the various amounts of communication between editors, and the constant alteration of the same writing piece. Again, patience was key in helping her mainting her motivation and continue her dream pursuit. 

In about 5 months, editing was lastly complete and it was on to publishing. Hasan reminisced about her past experience in publishing Feather People and stated, ‘‘Now that I look back on it… it all felt like a dream. I don’t think it hit me that I was going to be a published author! But I was really lucky to have my family support me through every step, and to have my publishing team – Notion Press.” Through a bit of research Hasan was able to get in contract with a publishing firm that offered self-publishing services. She sent her manuscript to Notion press and alast came “Feather People.”


From: a writer, To: a writer

Certainly, with every published story there is a struggle to be overcome. Hansa disclosed that she wasn’t immune to that struggle. She voiced, ‘‘At that age, I was quite shy and reserved, but once I got published I realized I have to put myself out there; be it interviews, panels, or even flash sales. I had to talk to people about myself and my book and that was the most challenging thing for me; getting out of my shell. It’s funny, I think I was so worried about that, I didn’t have time to think about anything else.’’

It is the fate of every young writer to face their own set of obstacles. The most common of them being the fear of criticism, self-doubt, and time.

Hasan had never been one to fear criticism, her self-critical nature had made it easy for her to embrace reproving comments. Yet for those who do fear criticism, she very eloquently advices, ‘‘With art, it is impossible to please everybody! And that’s a fact. So, there will always be people giving unhelpful comments and criticism. Your instinct will tell you which can help you be better and which must be ignored. And of course, pride is the enemy of self-improvement. If you can’t bear criticism because of pride, discard that too.’’

Hasan had a vast support system that ranged from her parents, peers to teachers. For those who aren’t so lucky to obtain a support system, Hasan urges them to share their work, ‘‘it could be an acquaintance, a peer, a colleague, or even share it anonymously on a social media platform. All you need is one person’s feedback to ignite a spark of confidence that can change the course of everything.’’

In regards to time, it is not a secret that young writers have much more to focus on than just writing. Hasan was able to publish a novel while balancing her 11th grade school work. She states, ‘‘While writing ‘Feather People,’ it was about finding a balance and giving enough time to both academics and writing, without getting overworked.” Her schedule included a 15 minute break between work. Her work also was set in a way that it always ended by 9 p.m. This ensued a productive day where self-care was prioritized. 

In the end, Hasan was able to overcome all challenges that came her way and set flight her dream. With determination, the young writers of JFK can also follow in such footsteps.