"By turns heartfelt, bitingly funny, and emotionally devastating, Muddy People is not your average coming-of-age tale. I loved this memoir of a young Egyptian-Australian girl growing up Muslim. It's a clear-eyed, fierce debut; every word rings true."--Nadine Jolie Courtney, author of All-American Muslim Girl
A quick, clever debut that is "like the best kind of cake: warm, sweet, a bit nutty--and made with so much love."--Alice Pung, author of Unpolished Gem
Sara is growing up in a family with a lot of rules. Her mother tells her she's not allowed to wear a bikini, her father tells her she's not allowed to drink alcohol, and her grandmother tells her to never trust a man with her money.
After leaving Egypt when Sara was only six years old, her family slowly learns how to navigate the social dynamics of their new home. Sara feels out of place in her new school. Her father refuses to buy his coworkers a ginger beer, thinking it contains alcohol. Her mother refuses to wear a hijab, even if it would help them connect with other local Muslims. And Sara learns what it feels like to have a crush on a boy, that some classmates are better friends than others, and that her parents are loving, but flawed people who don't always know what's best for her, despite being her strongest defenders.
For readers of Patricia Lockwood's Priestdaddy and Michelle Zauner's Crying in H Mart, this heartwarming book about family and identity introduces a compelling new voice, with a coming-of-age story that will speak to everyone who's ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
Sara El Sayed is a writer and Sessional Academic working at the Queensland University of Technology. Sara is a current recipient of a Queensland Writers Fellowship and was shortlisted for the 2020 Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Award and the 2019 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.