The Kingdom makes literary history this week

A schoolgirl has become the youngest Saudi to publish an English-language novel.

Leena Althekair wrote her book Foreshadow: Trapped in Her Own Mind in 2017, when she was 14. The novel follows the adventures of high school student Meghan, whose life changes course after a mishap in a laboratory.


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The idea for the book stemmed from a school writing project. “I actually wrote an essay for school and when I re-read it, I thought ‘you know what? This is a pretty good novel idea’ – and I spent the whole summer writing it,” she told Arab News.

She added that she didn’t seek out fame when writing: “For me, it was never about becoming well-known. It was getting the message across that age doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you need to work hard. You are never too young or too old to be chasing your dreams.”

The schoolgirl expressed her disappointment that she wasn’t taken seriously due to her age. “In the beginning, it was hard,” she says. “A lot of people didn’t say anything but they would give me strange looks. I focused on the people who supported me instead.”

Leena has made a string of appearances since the book was published, including at the Virgin Megastore in Jeddah, where she signed copies for readers.

Foreshadow: Trapped in her Own Mind is now available to buy.

Congrats Leena!

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