Profile: Hanna Alkaf

Ever since graduating with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, Hanna Alkaf (please see: A note on names) has worked as a copywriter in online B2B marketing, a senior writer at a major fashion & lifestyle magazine, and a communications manager at a non-profit organization in education. She’s written everything from profiles to press releases, from corporate annual reports to long-form investigative features, from social media posts to email newsletters, and her work has appeared in the Malaysian iterations of Marie Claire, Esquire, Shape, Female, Her World, and more.

Hanna has lived in Malaysia her entire life except for the six years she spent studying and working in and near Chicago. She currently lives near Kuala Lumpur with her husband and two children, and attempts to write books while juggling her never-ending to-do list (this works on some days better than others).

Her critically-acclaimed debut Young Adult novel, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, was published in February 2019 by Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and won a Freeman Award for Young Adult/High School Literature. Her debut Middle Grade novel, Kirkus Prize finalist THE GIRL & THE GHOST, was published by HarperCollins in August 2020. Her next novel is the YA murder mystery QUEEN OF THE TILES, set at a Scrabble tournament in Malaysia.

Hanna is one of the co-founders of KitaJagaKita, a volunteer-led directory that verifies and lists civil society movements and mutual aid funds, making it easy to both give and receive help during the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.

*Also, because this seems to come up in Internet searches a lot, Hanna was born in 1985.

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Featured Work

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness.

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