A treasured member of Lambton Writers’ Association is poet and author, Najah Shuqair, whose background includes journalism and foreign affairs.
Najah’s empathy and sensitivity for others spill over into her writings.
N: When I was 11 years old, I used to climb and sit in my family’s almond tree during the spring and write my poems on Kleenex tissues. My dad would look for me until he found me up in that tree. I even carved my name on its trunk to claim it for myself.
G: How do your previous work and/or life experiences influence your writing?
N: When I was working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jordan, one of my colleagues was a writer who owned a weekly newspaper and encouraged me to write. Also, he encouraged me to enroll and study Journalism and Information. After I followed his guidance and graduated, I started to write weekly articles in another newspaper. I worked there after I finished my Ministry of Foreign Affairs job, after hours. I ran the Women’s section and wrote my own weekly column in the paper.
G: What are the genres in which you write? Do you have a preferred one?
N: I focus on the heart: my love and passion for family, nature, and even the colour green. I use the first person when I write poetry. It comes natural and very true. I prefer to write about daily life issues, stories that teach a lesson. I write for adults mostly, but I am hoping to write for teenage kids, stories that incorporate more value and morals. I would like to write novels too; however, I do not think I will be able to write them until I retire. Upon retiring, I will have more time to sit and write for hours.
G: Are you working on a project currently?
N: I am working on writing short stories and have written four so far. My dilemma is that I have other things I like to do or help friends with besides writing. I am working for my husband, helping him in his clinic, Sam Shuqair Physiotherapy Clinic. I volunteer for the Bluewater Health and the Canadian Diabetes Association. I belong to Lambton Toastmasters Club in Sarnia, which takes most of my time.
G: Do you have a favourite location for writing?
N: I love to be next to a big window where I can see the green trees, grass, the sun, and birds. I love to write during the spring months because it means a new life and a new beginning. The best time for me to write is when I am alone in the house. Most of the time, I write at night when everyone else is asleep.
G: What kinds of books do you read?
N: I love to read about history, family, romance, adventure, and nature. I am very spiritual, so I admire and I am fond of God’s creations on earth, in the sea, in the sky, and beyond our imagination.
G: Do you wish to share anything further about your personal life?
N: Born and raised in Amman/Jordan, I immigrated to Canada in 1987. I am married to physiotherapist, Sam Shuqair, for 28 years. I have one son, Salman.
G: What works have you published to date?
N: I have published two poetry books. The first book Enter My Heart: Poems For The Soul was published in 2008. I gave 50% of the profits to the Canadian Cancer Society. The book was sold out. My second book Sarnia, You Are In My Heart was published in 2014. Fifty percent of the profits will go to the Canadian Diabetes Association. This year, I celebrated the International Poetry Month by making awareness and signing my book for four Saturdays in a row at Lambton Mall in front of the Body Shop. All the profits from April’s month’s sale will go to the Diabetes Association. https://scontent-lga1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t31.0-/s960x960/11157515_832789050108355_4706296170957009158_o.jpg
The following link to Debbie Okun Hill’s blog includes a review of Sarnia, You Are In My Heart as well as more details about my personal life: https://okunhill.wordpress.com/tag/najah-shuqair/
G: What are your thoughts on traditional vs indie publishing?
N: In my situation, I prefer to do self-publishing. I believe in doing so; moreover, I can help associations and societies with sharing the profits with them. If I go with the traditional, I have to work on selling my books, but the profits from the books sale will go to publishing companies and this will lead to no profits to the areas in which I want to help.
G: Anything else you wish to elaborate on?
N: I write from my heart. I work so hard. My aim is to help others, but at the same time, I am fulfilling my passion for writing. Writing is therapeutic for me. This way, I see myself productive and positive. I am a very spiritual woman that sees what people need and try to help as much as I can. We are here for a purpose, I might not know what the purpose is, but I believe that I am here to make awareness and make people realize that health is so important. Without health no one can enjoy their life. If you are not going to take care of your health and use what is out there such as services, then you won’t enjoy life as much. Each one of us is looking for a high-quality life and we all are here to help each other. I am here to help as long as I am healthy and able to assist.