The Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Awards

The Oakland Arts Review is proud to host the Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Contest in Poetry and Nonfiction.  Each year we solicit pieces by undergraduate writers that speak, in some way, to the experience — the joys and challenges — of being Muslim in America today. Alternately, a piece may describe components of the American Muslim experience in ways that educate and inform our readers. The first prize in each category is $300 and publication in OAR, the second prize will be $150 and publication.

OAR is interested in reaching out to undergraduates in all areas of academia who are interested in presenting the vibrancy and complexity of the American Muslim experience. We think this is an important contest at this moment in time. We hope that art can be a powerful vehicle for dialogue and understanding.

The prize was made possible through a grant from Dr. Hamid & Amy Sheikh, set up by Dr. Sheikh to honor his late mother, Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh, and foster a greater understanding of Islam.

** Announcing the winners of the 2018 Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Prizes in Nonfiction and Poetry! **

The winning pieces are:

Non Fiction

First: Through the Dome, by Safia Hattab (Hope College)

Check out this piece on Stateside (Michigan NPR) about Safia and her winning essay!

Second: From Kandahar, With Love, by Maryam Bargzie (California State University)

Honorable Mention: All Kinds of Kinds, by Rahat Huda (Middlebury College)


First: Meditation on Birth and Identity & This Poem Changes Nothing, by Threa Almontaser (North Carolina State University)

Second: i slam, by Parmida Mostafavi (Duke University)

Honorable Mention: Generational Burden, by Haneen Awadalla (San José State University)