Michael Mohammed Ahmad on Writing Fiction

19 August 2019 Katherine Smyrk

Michael Mohammed Ahmad on Writing Fiction

Michael Mohammad Ahmed is an Arab-Australian writer, editor and teacher who novel The Lebs was recently shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. He is also the founder and director of Sweatshop, a literacy movement based in Western Sydney.

We were so thrilled to have his short story ‘Learning to be Leb’ featured in the 2019 Big Issue Fiction Edition, we had to follow up with a Q&A.  

Why did you want to contribute in The Big Issue Fiction Edition?

Michael Mohammed Ahmad: The Big Issue is one of the few magazines in Australia that I don’t have a big issue with.

Tell us about your piece ‘Learning to be Leb’. 

'Learning to be Leb' is about the cycle of violence. 

What was the inspiration for this article?

My father. 

Do you write short stories very often? What do you like about writing short stories, as opposed to longer work?

My writing is a mirror of my life, and what is my life except an accumulation of short stories? 

What was the first story/piece of writing that you had published?

It was a fable I wrote for my school magazine. I plagiarised every word. 

Why do you think short stories are popular again?

They are the middle-ground between a novel and a tweet. 

Why do you think fiction is important?

Because we are human.

You can read Michael Mohammed Ahmad's short story in The Big Issue Fiction Edition 2019 (Ed#593), which is out now.