Hijabi Monologues Story Contest


-written by Sahar Ullah-

We often share our own stories in the way we give gifts. In sharing stories, we share pieces of ourselves. Someone initiates. Someone reciprocates. Sometimes, we regret what we’ve given; other times, we receive far greater than what we give.

In July 2006, Dan Morrison, Zeenat Rahman and I founded the Hijabi Monologues. Since then, the HM has been a growing organic project with fresh stories shared by others touched by truth-telling; organized and performed for thousands across the U.S. and abroad including the Kennedy Center and Off-Broadway; and covered by various media outlets including The Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Miami Herald, America.gov and WAMU Latitudes.

After a wonderful five years, the Hijabi Monologues team is excited to announce the very first nationwide monologues competition. We are accepting stories from and for all ages: adults, teenagers and children. Grandmothers, mothers and daughters.


1. Winning writers will be announced on the Hijabi Monologues-Official Facebook fan page.

2. Winning writers will be given the opportunity to work closely with an official HM performer–including May Alhassen and Kamilah Pickett–in directing a performance of their stories.

3. Hijabi Monologues will upload the resulting performances on YouTube and the Hijabi Monologues-Official Facebook fan page.


Entry is free.

When you submit your story, you will be asked to provide:

1. Confirmation that the monologue submitted is completely original to you. You are the present and exclusive and sole owner of all right, title, and interest in and to the story.
2. Confirmation that the monologue has not been published, used in an anthology, or winner of any other contests.
3. Confirmation that the monologue is a true story.


1. One (1) entry per person (one monologue).
2. Scripts in Microsoft Word (.doc) are requested.
3. The monologue should be double-spaced and no longer than 800 words or 6 minutes.
4. Contact information (name, E-mail address, etc.) on the cover page only.
5. Please put the title of your monologue at the top of each page.
6. Please paginate your script at the bottom of each page: 1 of 5, 2 of 5 etc
7. Submit your monologue by emailing hm.storycontest@gmail.com with the subject “Story Contest Submission 2011.”

Submission deadline: Friday, September 2, 2011, 11:59 EST

Monologues submitted after 11:59 PM EST of September 2 will not be accepted. Monologues that do not follow the entry guidelines will not be accepted.

Winners will be announced Friday, September 9, 2011 on our Official Facebook Page.


1. The hijab is to be used as a “prop” but not the centerpiece or story subject.

2. Your story does not have to be something absolutely crazy. In even the utterly mundane, there can be a narrative.

3. Use explicit regional references. Do not shy away from using Muslim (eg. He broke his wudu), cultural/ regional specific (eg. She was hella mad.) or ethnic (eg. Her dupatta was always freshly pressed) lingo. At the same time, the story should be accessible to a wide audience.

4. Stories about sexuality are fine but keep in mind that Muslim women have been represented as hyper-sexual, asexual and sexually repressed in popular film and literature. Be creative!

5. Stories written for young audiences are welcomed.

6. As an exercise, highlight the elements that are specific to the storyteller’s quirks. Then highlight the elements that are “universal.” Both of these elements are very important.

7. Read your monologue aloud. It should sound like a story–and less like a campaign speech, sermon and/or spoken word poetry.

8. Again, local stories (i.e., specific to a particular region, city or town) are a big plus!


Cristina Martinez organized HM shows in South Florida and Ohio State University. Cristina received her graduate degree in English Literature at OSU. Her research focus includes American and Latino/a fiction, memoir and graphic novels.

Dan Morrison is the CEO and Founder of Citizen Effect, a nonprofit that empowers anyone to be a philanthropist for a small but critical project around the world. Dan received his graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at University of Chicago where he met fellow Hijabi Monologues founders Sahar Ullah and Zeenat Rahman.

Zeenat Rahman is the Deputy Director for the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at U.S. Agency for International Development – USAID. Zeenat received her graduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at University of Chicago where she met fellow HM founders Sahar Ullah and Dan Morrison.

Avery Willis-Hoffman is a freelance producer, director and writer working in theatre, opera, and museum exhibit design. She earned her BA in English Literature and Classics at Stanford University, and her MA and PhD in Classical Languages, Literature, and Theatre at University of Oxford (UK)

Sahar Ullah is a founder, the Creative Director and Head Writer for the Hijabi Monologues. From South Florida and a lover of good stories, she continues to learn the priceless value of “I don’t know” and lived experiences.


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