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writer & editor

Zoya Patel

Writer & Editor
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Coming March 2023

A novel about family, tradition, loss and the challenge of feeling at home, from the author of the memoir No Country Woman.

Their mother was sick. Their mother was dying.
Laila wanted her to come home.

She wasn't sure which of the two truths was more frightening.

Ayat hasn't seen or spoken to her sister, Laila, and mother, Khadija, for six years. She has been estranged from her family since she baulked against the arranged marriage of her sister and settled into a relationship deemed haram by Indian Muslim tradition.

Living in Melbourne, with Harry, Ayat's a different person now, living a different life. She is not the woman her mother and sister once knew - so how can she go home? But how can she not?

Once a Stranger weaves through the past and present to show the bonds and disconnects between sisters, and between a mother and daughter, as the three women grapple with the idea of where they feel most at home.

About Me

A bit about me

I am a writer, editor and communications professional, based in Canberra. My debut book, No Country Woman, a collection of memoir essays on race, identity and the diaspora is out now through Hachette Australia. My novel, Once A Stranger comes out in March 2023, also published by Hachette Australia.


I write regular opinion column for The RiotACT, was a co-host of Guardian Australia's Book It In podcast, and also co-host the Margin Notes podcast alongside Yen Eriksen. 

I was the Chair of the 2021 Stella Prize judging panel, and was also on the judging panel in 2020.


In 2015, I was named ACT Young Woman of the Year for my commitment to raising the profile of women’s voices in the media. 


I am the founder and editor of Feminartsy, an online feminist arts and literature journal, and am the former Editor-In-Chief of Lip Magazine. Feminartsy wound up in 2019, and the archive remains public.


I have written for a number of publications, including the Australian Financial Review, SBS Voices, Guardian Australia, The Canberra Times, Right Now, JunkeeWomen’s Agenda, and more.


I have worked with numerous arts and literary organisations, including The Wheeler Centre, Writers NSW, Express Media, Digital Writers Festival, Seizure, You Are Here festival, and the National Young Writers’ Festival, amongst others. I have worked in marketing and communications for five years, primarily in the not-for-profit and arts sectors. 


I have been lucky to be the recipient of several awards. In 2014, I was the recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Young Writers’ Fellowship, as well as an Edna Ryan Award for making a feminist difference in the media. I was also Highly Commended in the Scribe Non-Fiction Prize for Young Writers in 2015. Most recently, I was awarded a 2016 Canberra Critics Circle award in the category of 'Writing', for creating a platform for women writers through Feminartsy.


I have been active in community advocacy for many years, and was a member of the former Australian Social Inclusion Board.


You can connect with me by sending me an email through the form below, or on Twitter @zoyajpatel. You can also find out more about my work with Lip Magazine in The Canberra Times, about Feminartsy in Junkee, and about my writing and advocacy work through HerCanberra.

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Contact Me

Please note I am not currently available for interviews as part of school/university assessments. But you're very welcome to quote directly from No Country Woman! 

For media requests, commissions or event enquiries, please use the form below.

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