Community as Inspiration: Fatha Hassan

FATHA HASSAN is a Creative Writing and English Literature graduate, born and raised in London. She loved writing after discovering her talents while studying in university. Check out Fatha’s work in the Gu’ 2018 issue, “Hooyo Ma Talo.”

Photo_Fatha Hassan
Community as Inspiration: Fatha Hassan

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My perfect idea of happiness is being able to feel content. I am always thinking of something or even worrying about minute details. But to be out and free from my mind for just a while would probably give me perfect happiness.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I don’t think curse words would be appropriate but I’m always saying this Somali word whenever something happens: balayoo.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Favorite childhood memory is pretty vague but it’s always to do with running around the house. I’ve always enjoyed running around and being the center of attention when I was around my cousins.

At what point in your life did you find yourself exploring your talent?

I never knew how much I wanted to be a writer until I was in university. I chose a Creative Writing and English Literature degree thinking I’d end up as a teacher but once I started to get a lot of positive feedback about my writing my goals had changed.In what mood do you usually create your work?
I’m either extremely happy when I’m writing or I’m going through something that really propels my writing style. When I’m sad my writing style becomes very poetic, and I never really knew I was able to write like that. Emotions are extremely helpful when I want to write.
What or who inspires you as an artist/author?

I get inspired by a lot of different aspects but right now it’s my community. I love to observe different aspects of my Somali culture and implement it in my writing. Sometimes it’s a simple tweet from Twitter and I already have a chapter written in my mind.Does your work usually carry a message?
My writing is always a reflection of the Somali community. I have a standpoint of being in the middle; I sometimes criticize it heavily or write so much praise for being Somali. I have written serious pieces about FGM [female genital mutilation] as well as comedy writing on waking up to find your living room filled with Somali aunties.What is your spirit animal? Why?
I don’t have a spirit animal but I do love owls and donkeys. I’ve had a slight obsession with owls [since] two years ago and I fell in love with donkeys when I went to Hargeisa in 2015 and visited my great-grandfather’s land, and there was a donkey tied up to a post.What is your greatest fear?
As much as I would want to say failure, [my greatest fear is] being ignored. At least with failure, people will acknowledged you.

What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?
Do it for yourself Fatha! You have one life to live and make it count. You think you’ll get another chance?!

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’ve always admired people who can draw really well because compared to writing, people won’t read your work. As an artist [people] just view it and I seriously wish I had talent like that.

What does home mean to you?
Home isn’t always where you were born but it’s where you are the most comfortable. A place I can really slouch and not have to constantly worry about how people view me. A place I don’t wish to leave as soon as I enter.

Which living person do you admire?
The person I admire always changes but the person that came to mind right now is Missy Elliot. I grew up listening to her music and I really felt that she represented being someone who wasn’t a size 0 at the time. Her music was great to listen to and I usually go back to her when I’m doing my writing and have her in the background.

What is your proudest achievement?
Proudest achievement apart from having my work featured with you guys 🙂 was winning a short story competition at my university. The story was about my mother going through FGM when she was younger and I won first place and everybody gave me so much positive feedback that it really solidified my decision to be a writer.