Yassmin Abdel-Magied

You Must Be Layla
  • You Must Be Layla

  • 'If you want to invent something nobody has ever thought of before, you need to read the things that others don't read, look in the spaces other people are not in...'

    Layla believes she was right to stand up for herself against a bully, but it's landed her a suspension - not the way she (or her parents) would have wished to begin her time at her fancy new school! This is just a setback though, and she's determined to prove that she does deserve her scholarship by making new friends and setting her sights on inventing something that could win the big robotics competition.

    But where to begin?

    You Must Be Layla introduces Sudanese-born author, broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied as an exciting new voice in children's writing.

    Praise for You Must Be Layla:
    'This warm, humorous account of a larger-than-life Sudanese girl navigating a posh Australian school is an engaging read' Guardian
    'Fresh funny and empowering' BookTrust
    'A one-of-a-kind bundle of comedy and compassion' LoveReading

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-born Australian writer, broadcaster and award-winning social advocate with a background in mechanical engineering. Yassmin founded her first organization, Youth Without Borders, at the age of sixteen, published her debut memoir, Yassmin's Story, with Penguin Random House Australia at age twenty-four, and in 2019 followed up with her first fiction book for young readers, You Must Be Layla, which she is adapting for screen. She was also selected for the 2020 Soho Theatre Writers' Lab in London, as well as for the prestigious 2021 Australia Council Keesing Studio Writers Residency in Paris. An advocate for the empowerment of women, youth and people of colour, Yassmin has been awarded numerous awards for her advocacy, including the 2018 Young Voltaire Award for Free Speech. Yassmin has travelled to over twenty countries speaking to governments, NGOs and multinational companies on a range of topics including unconscious bias, resilience and inclusive leadership. Her TED talk, 'What does my headscarf mean to you?', has been viewed over two million times and was chosen as one of TED's top ten ideas of 2015. Yassmin's critically acclaimed essays have been published in numerous anthologies, including the Griffith Review, the bestselling It's Not About the Burqa and New Daughters of Africa. Her words can also be found in publications like the Guardian, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, The Independent and Glamour. Yassmin's broadcasting portfolio is diverse: she presented the national TV show Australia Wide, a podcast on becoming an F1 driver and created Hijabistas, a series looking at the modest fashion scene in Australia. Yassmin is a regular contributor to the BBC, Al Jazeera, TRT and Monocle 24, and has co-hosted The Guilty Feminist. Outside advocacy, she worked as an engineer on oil and gas rigs for four years and is an internationally accredited F1 journalist.

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