Portraits d'artistes

A young poet on the rise

Oumaima Maatallah, a 17-year-old young writer, has just published her first collection of poems under the title “Sight of the mirror”.  Oumaima is talented. Writing poems and blogs in English isn’t easy nor common. Oumaima invested in her passion for English, arts, and writing. She shared her writings with others not only to express her feelings but also to motivate people. “Sight of the mirror” has two chapters, Dawn and She, each has its own subsections.

L’instant M invites you to discover this young writer.

How was the book written?

I wanted to do some exciting stuff before my 18th birthday. I had a bucket list. I found out that half of the stuff I wrote I’ve already accomplished so I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I decided to write a book. It seemed so crazy when I first thought about it. Then again, people appreciate my blogs so I thought it is worth investing in.

How long did it take you to write the book?

I thought the process would be simple but it actually took me a lot of time. I started writing some of the poems when I was 15. I gathered the poems from the same theme. People can’t really relate if the poems had different themes. I don’t recall when I wrote each poem exactly. The last two poems were written just recently and they inspired me to choose the theme. 

What are the poems about?

The book is about past self, memories, and regrets. I went through some critical changes the past year. I used to be introverted. Now I got a bit wild. The poems more or less reflect on that. 

How did the process of publishing go?

Writing blogs is a much easier straightforward process. Everything is done online. The tangible version of my writings required more. I pulled an all-nighter printing and arranging every page. I promoted the book using social media. I talked to people I know. It has its own charm when people come to you and ask for a copy. People ask me to read the passages. The whole process keeps me going. I am enjoying it.

What are your blog entries about?

My blog tackles with different subjects. For example, the situation of women in Tunisia is a recurrent topic. I also write about my lack of inspiration, everyone's lack of inspiration. People can’t easily express themselves because they lack motivation which me to write about motivation.

What made you like English?

I started like a lot of teenagers watching movies on MBC 2 and MBC Max but I decided not to stop at that level (conversational English). I wanted to immerse myself more in the language so I decided to get into English literature. Contrary to most teens, I really hated John Green's books. They were super expensive and I didn’t enjoy them. On the other hand, I was fond of older books. That’s what really inspired my writings and affected my style.

What is it like to be a 17-year-old English Writer in Tunisia?

First I am constantly brought down by the lack of opportunities. There aren't publishers that will give you attention and time. They would rather invest in the works of older, more established writers. That’s why people told me it is pointless to seek the help of a publisher. Eventually, I decided to do everything on my own which was a very enriching experience.

What are your plans for the future?

I am going to take two more months to keep on marketing and selling “Sight of the Mirror”. Next year I will be a senior, a baccalaureate student, so I will be focusing more on my studies. I will constantly be writing but writing books is time-consuming so I am taking a break.

Check out her writings on her Medium’s blog.

Contact her on her Instagram or Facebook pages to get a copy of “Sight of the Mirror”.