Ruqaya Izzidien is an Iraqi-Welsh writer, editor, and sensitivity reader currently focusing on the representation of Arab and Muslim communities. She was educated in Lampeter, Wales and then at Durham University where she studied Modern Languages (Spanish and Arabic) with Middle Eastern Politics and French. Her debut novel The Watermelon Boys won a Betty Trask Award for first-time novelists under 35, and Arabic-language rights have recently been sold. The book hit the top 600 on all Amazon titles and was reviewed in multiple media outlets. She is represented by Curtis Brown, and her second novel Tick Bloom is currently on submission and was awarded a Northern Writers Award as well as a Society of Authors K Blundell grant for works-in-progress. She was a contributing writer in the essay collection, Just So You Know, which featured chapters from marginalised Welsh writers.
As owner of the blog Muslim Impossible she reviews prejudiced and inaccurate depictions of Muslims in TV, film, and literature and has had work featured in New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, BBC, Al-Jazeera and she has regularly contributed to the New Statesman, Al Araby, Al Jazeera and The National until 2018. She reported from post-revolution Egypt and from the Gaza Strip, including photostories and since 2018 she is long-term consultant for UK-based development agencies providing copywriting and editing for scripts, annual reports, fundraising campaigns, billboards, adverts, and websites.
She was selected for the Ulysses Shelter 3 residency programme in October 2022 and will travel to Malta to take up her residency