Longlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize

Coming of Age in the War on Terror – Randa Abdel-Fattah

Nonfiction · NewSouth

About the Book

We now have a generation – Muslim and non-Muslim – who has grown up only knowing a world at war on terror, and who has been socialised in a climate of widespread Islamophobia, surveillance and suspicion.

In Coming of Age in the War on Terror, award-winning writer Randa Abdel-Fattah interrogates the impact of all this on young people’s political consciousness and their trust towards adults and the societies they live in. Drawing on local interviews but global in scope, this book is the first to examine the lives of a generation for whom the rise of the far-right and the growing polarisation of politics seem normal. It’s about time we hear what they have to say.

Coming of Age in the War on Terror is urgent and compelling storytelling.”

– 2022 Stella Prize Judges

Randa Abdel-Fattah

About the Author

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer, academic, anti-racism and Palestine advocate, former lawyer and the multi-award-winning author of 13 books published in over 20 countries. She is the series editor of the forthcoming new children’s book series Our Stories. Her first picture story book, 11 Words for Love, illustrated by Maxine Beneba Clarke, is due for release in 2022. Randa is also a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University where she researches Islamophobia, race, social justice movements and youth identities. Randa lives in Sydney with her husband and four children.

Further Reading


“Excoriating the hypocrisy of neoliberal social interventionist policies, Abdel-Fattah has given us a rich and important work, as moving in its sincerity as it is unprecedented in its scope.” – Daniel Nour, Books + Publishing

“The war on terror shapes the cultural narratives that we buy into: it informs our allegiances and our enemies, our competition and our proximity, our pasts and our futures.” – Munira Tabassum Ahmed, Meanjin

“Abdel-Fattah, an Arab-Australian Muslim activist, revels in the words of students who attempt to speak truth to power while also displaying great empathy toward youth who are struggling to come to grips with the implications of their identity.” – Ender Başkan, Readings online


Listen to Randa Abdel-Fattah discuss Coming of Age in the War on Terror on ABC RN’s Breakfast with Fran Kelly

Read ‘I’m not afraid of terrorism. I’m afraid of being accused of being a terrorist: growing up Muslim after 9/11’ by Randa Abdel-Fattah via The Conversation

Watch Randa Abdel-Fattah on ABC TV’s The Drum


Judges’ Report

Explore the latest from Stella

The Stella Interview: Astrid Edwards Astrid Edwards is the 2025 Stella Prize Chair of Judges. She is a literary critic, educator and …

Meet the team: Megan McCracken We sat down with Stella’s newly appointed Chair, Megan McCracken, to talk about her new role, the …

Our Ambassadors: Courtney Stewart Stella Ambassador Courtney Stewart is the Artistic Director of La Boite Theatre. In this interview she talks about …

Help change the story

As a not-for-profit organisation with ambitious goals, Stella relies on the generous support of donors to help fund our work.

Every donation is important to us and allows Stella to continue its role as the leading voice for gender equality and cultural change in Australian literature.

Stella is a not-for-profit organisation with DGR status. All donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.