Randa Abdel-Fattah is an Australian-born writer of Palestinian and Egyptian parentage. Abdel-Fattah grew up in Melbourne but now lives in Sydney where she is a lawyer. She lives with her husband and young daughter. She is extremely active in the inter-faith community, gives talks at high schools, and has been involved in Palestinian human rights campaigns. She is also a member of the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign, the Australian Arabic Council and various Australian Muslim networks. She loves to travel, and her favourite places are Egypt and Palestine. She loves to read and her writing reflects on her personal views. She enjoys romantic comedies, her husband's humour, getting a seat on a train and any movie starring Colin Firth.
She has written three novels for young adults, Does My Head Look Big in This?, Ten Things I Hate About Me and Where the Streets Had a Name. Her first book, Does My Head Look Big In This?, is the story of a of Amal, a 16-year-old Muslim girl who decides to wear the hijab (headscarf) full time. The book deals with the issues of growing up as a Muslim-Australian in post-9/11 Australia. It also covers the usual teenage issues of smoking, alcohol, a desire to fit in, and boys. It aims to show that wearing a hijab can be empowering rather than oppressive and helps to foster religious understanding.
Her next book, Ten Things I Hate About Me, is the story of a Lebanese-Muslim girl who calls herself Jamie at school and Jamilah at home. Her mother passes away when she is nine years old, and she lives in Sydney- Australia with her father, sister and brother. Jamie struggles to show with her identity at school and is afraid that her friends would never accept her as she really is. Fortunately she discovers what love, honesty and religion truly are.
Abdel-Fattah's most recent book, Where the Streets had a Name, is dedicated to her grandmother, Sitti Zeynab, who died in April 2008. In her book dedication she said, "I had hoped you would live to see this book. It is my consolation that you died surrounded by friends and family. And to my father: May you see a free Palestine in your lifetime." Set in Bethlehem in Occupied Palestine, this book is rather different from most of her books as it is focused solely on living in a war-zone, rather than the point of view of a teenager trying to deal with issues both at school and home. Where the Streets had a Name is a more serious tale about 13-year old Hayaat who is still trying to deal with the death of her friend by a bomb. The bomb has left Hayaat with permanent scars on her face, reminding her constantly of her dead friend and filling her with guilt. It has been published in Arabic by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing.