SHORT BIO (50 words)
A. M. Dassu is a writer and magistrate. She is the deputy editor of SCBWI-BI’s Words & Pictures magazine and a director at Inclusive Minds. She won the international We Need Diverse Books mentorship award in 2017. A. M. Dassu’s debut middle grade novel BOY, EVERYWHERE will be published in October 2020.
MEDIUM LENGTH BIO
A. M. Dassu is a writer and magistrate based in the heart of England. She is the Deputy Editor of SCBWI-BI’s Words & Pictures magazine and a Director of Inclusive Minds, a unique organisation for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature, and are committed to changing the face of children’s books. Previously, she has worked in project management, marketing, and editorial. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, Times Educational Supplement, SCOOP Magazine, Lee & Low Books, and DK Books. She won the international We Need Diverse Books mentorship award in 2017. A. M. Dassu writes contemporary upper middle grade novels inspired by news stories that are accessible and relatable and which enable young people to walk in others’ shoes. Her stories are about ordinary people who do extraordinary things when thrown into circumstances they never saw coming. She enjoys planning school workshops and shocking her audience by taking a story we think we all know and turning it on its head.
A. M. Dassu has used her publishing deal advances for her debut middle grade novel Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee/recently immigrated writer. It will be published in the UK and Commonwealth in October 2020 and USA in Spring 2021. You can find her on Twitter @a_reflective and Instagram@a.m.dassu or at amdassu.com
LONG DETAILED BIO WITH PAST EXPERIENCE AND CHARITY/VOLUNTARY WORK INFO
A. M. Dassu was born and raised in the heart of England. She is a freelance writer, a magistrate and a director at Inclusive Minds, a unique organisation that provides services and expertise for authors and illustrators, publishing professionals, editors, librarians and teachers who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the deputy editor for SCBWI-BI’s Words & Pictures magazine. She is also a mentor for the Write Mentor Sparks Programme and has helped authors on their journey to securing an agent. Her previous work experience includes project management, marketing and some editorial work at Reader’s Digest.
Six years ago, whilst writing some copy for a friend’s website, A. M. Dassu rediscovered her love of writing for an audience. Her first piece for The Huffington Post, for whom she was a featured writer, was published on the front-page, alongside Barack Obama and Lenny Henry. In January 2017, she received the international We Need Diverse Books YA mentorship award and was also selected for the Writing East Midlands agency’s mentorship scheme. Her work has been published by The Huffington Post, Times Educational Supplement, SCOOP Magazine, Lee & Low Books, and DK Books.
A. M. Dassu firmly believes in giving back to society and has been raising money to support refugees and orphans annually since 2014, and has dedicated many years to volunteering as a school appeals panel member and as a school governor. In 2015, A. M. Dassu wrote a picture book inspired by her son’s school friend; she started looking into publishing it and the rest is history.
She writes immersive and relevant stories for children of all backgrounds that are accessible and relatable and which enable young people to walk in others’ shoes. Her work is inspired by news stories. She explores outside political events and how they impact family relationships and friendships. Her stories humanise ‘the other’, whilst challenging stereotypes. She writes about tolerance, how people interact, become friends, belonging and identity and the expectations of others. She focuses on how something societal impacts multi-cultural families and how they deal with it. Her stories are about ordinary people who do extraordinary things when thrown into circumstances they never saw coming.
A. M. Dassu’s debut BOY, EVERYWHERE is a contemporary upper middle grade novel about a privileged 13-year-old boy from Syria who is forced to leave everything he owns and knows behind. It is a coming-of-age story of friendship, family, belonging and fighting for a better future, and shows how ‘they’ are also ‘us’. It will be published worldwide in October 2020.
A. M. Dassu has used her publishing deal advances for her debut middle grade novel Boy, Everywhere to assist Syrian refugees in her city and set up a grant to support an unpublished refugee/recently immigrated writer. It will be published in the UK and Commonwealth in October 2020 and USA in Spring 2021.
She is represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency Inc. You can find her on Twitter @a_reflective and Instagram @a.m.dassu
Colour – side profile
Black & White – side profile
Black & White Front profile
BOOK COVER IMAGE:
‘Sami is such a relatable character, the voice is perfect, and seeing their journey from his perspective really brings to life anything a child reading might have heard about refugees. This carefully researched and empathetic novel will, deservingly, be compared to Elizabeth Laird. I had my heart in my throat for so much of the story but I also smiled, a brilliantly crafted debut.’
Caroline Fielding, CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Youth Libraries Group London chair & National Exhibition Manager
‘Such a realistic story, Sami could be my son, daughter or any of their friends.’
Mayida Yord, Teacher in Damascus, Syria
‘I feel like if I was reading some of my friends stories, I didn’t think it would be so accurate. I really loved it and was so pleased with the end. I was happy to have the opportunity to go on Sami’s journey and I repeat, the author did a great job describing the situation.’
Mohamad Yord, 12-year-old student in Damascus, Syria. His father is a surgeon and mother a teacher, like Sami’s.
‘From a boy that had it all at his home, to someone who was left out on the streets in Manchester, this book brings down to words what happened exactly to many people, victims of the war in Syria.
Surprised by the number of realistic details this book has, I was full with emotions reading it. It marks the truth of our sad reality here in Syria, and most importantly shows the message we always wanted to blurt out but couldn’t, we aren’t happy we came to your land, we were forced to.
In the name of a person who has gone through half what Sami has gone through from bullying to hatred of us, I can affirm that the story told in this book is a hundred percent true, and there’s even been worse.
However, the presence of the good deeds in people helped a lot going through rough periods of time, the world needs more of them.
I really like this book, with all its heart warming, dramatically realistic events that would definitely move something in you. I hope it gets the attention it deserves, we need it. <3’
Layla Jazairy, 15 year old student in Damascus, Syria.
More reviews available upon request. They will be uploaded closer to publication day.
EVENTS AND PUBLIC SPEAKING
A. M. Dassu is a confident speaker who has in the past been interviewed for television and hosted charity auctions and events. She is happy to discuss interviews and school visits in person or via Skype/Zoom. Please contact her here.
- She has been delivering school workshops since 2016, using her experience of class observations as a school governor. More information on these here.
- In February 2019, A. M.Dassu read a chapter from Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon to a big audience at the Southbank Centre in London
- In February 2020, A. M.Dassu moderated a panel of ambassadors at the Inclusive Minds A Place At The Table Conference to an audience of publishers, booksellers and authors.
- She will be pitching her book directly to booksellers at The London Book Fair on 11th March 2020, and to librarians at NYALitFest on 20th March.
- She will be delivering a short workshop on authentic inclusion at the Children’s Media Conference on 6th July 2020.