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Inda Ahmad Zahri



Date of Success:

Inda Ahmad Zahri believes in a world of wonder.

She writes and illustrates for both children and adults. Her stories are inspired by natural and cultural gems curated from her travels and lovingly added to her Malaysian heritage.

She is also a surgical doctor, swapping her writer’s hat and paintbrush for scrubs and scalpel when duty calls.

‘Salih’ (illustrated by Anne Ryan, with Ford St Publishing) is her first picture book, and tells the story of a little boy who, like a turtle, must cross the raging sea while carrying his home on his back. It echoes a refugee’s perilous journey and offers a message of hope.

Inda is also looking forward to the publication of her second picture book, ‘Night Lights’ (illustrated by Lesley McGee, with Little Pink Dog Books) later this year.



I've been attending the CYA conference yearly since 2018, when I started writing children's books and the sessions and face-to-face assessments have really helped me improve my craft and better understand the industry.

In 2019 I had a manuscript assessment with Meredith Costain from Ford St Publishing. She gave me positive feedback on both my picture book manuscripts and encouraged me to resubmit after revisions. I did so, along with a 3rd manuscript, which was picked up and was published in March 2021.

Even when a manuscript assessment did not lead to an acquisition, it still helped me in many ways, including gaining contacts in the industry and the valuable invitation to submit stories at a later date. As an aspiring illustrator, I also gained encouragement for my art, and gave me direction to improve my skills.

CYA has truly helped to break down some of the hurdles in publishing for aspiring authors and illustrators.

Best of all, it's a place to meet up with like-minded and like-hearted people, a place to build friendships that have flourished in other areas of my life. Looking forward to coming back again this year!

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