Muscat: While most of us can only dream of writing a novel, a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Oman has already published her first book.
Rifa Alam Ferzana has published her first work of fiction, entitled ‘The Western Autumn,’ in association with the London-based publishing house Lulu Publications.
Published on July 8, ‘The Western Autumn’ features an alternative timeline of Europe in the Middle Ages, one which sees the continent reeling from a curse brought about by a mysterious object. To find the bravest and strongest of warriors, who are capable of besting this curse, the monarchs of the land organise an annual tournament to find a person worthy of shouldering this burden.
Enter Charles Davenport, a simple peasant from an ordinary family, who is keen to prove himself to the kings and queens of the realm.
“I’ve seen my dad write many books,” revealed Ferzana, whose father Ruhul Alam is part of the English Language Faculty and the Centre of Foundation Studies at the University of Buraimi. “He was a linguistics student, who studied in London, and I’ve travelled to many places and read about the histories of these places and this was what inspired me.”
“I thought, ‘Why not write a novel?’, because I’d received good feedback from my friends and teachers when I’d written stories in the past,” she added. “My story is set in 15th century Europe, where the kingdoms are suffering from disasters due to a cursed object, and the monarchs of these kingdoms come together to set up a tournament for great warriors, to see who can destroy this object, and save the countries.”
“But even after a 100 years, they fail to do so, and then comes our protagonist, Charles Davenport,” said Ferzana, who originally hails from Bangladesh. “This is a story to find your inner bravery, courage and intelligence in your darkest time. Publishing a book is a very lengthy process, so from this, I’ve learned that if you have patience and believe in what you can do, you can achieve all that you want in life.”
‘The Western Autumn’ has received positive reviews so far, and although Ferzana does have plans to pen more novels in the future, she is now focusing hard on her studies in her quest to become a doctor. “Wherever I went, my family went with me,” said Ruhul Alam, who previously taught at universities in the United Kingdom, Germany and China. “Our daughter has been inspired by both my wife and I, because she also writes stories and is an ex-teacher. I also write quite a few editorials for a newspaper back home, and have published many books, so I guess all of these things together have influenced her. Maybe it is an in-born interest.”
“We also lived in quite a few European countries and that has greatly contributed to her critical thinking and that is reflected in her book,” he added. “This is just the beginning, but those who read her book have said that she has excellent command over the English language. She has drawn a picture through her language. This is just the beginning and she will do well in the future.”