Jamil Kochai – 2017 Recipient

Major: Creative Writing
Degree: M.F.A.
School: University of Iowa
MateenMobeen Foundation



Message to Supporters: I am writing today to express my sincere gratitude for making the MateenMobeen Foundation Scholarship possible. I am a graduate student currently attending the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I am in the process of completing my first novel and starting my first collection of short stories. InshaAllah, after grad school, I plan to pursue a position as a creative writing professor and to continue working as a novelist. My family was initially hesitant about my literary goals, but awards like the MateenMobeen Foundation scholarship have illustrated for them that a literary career is not only feasible but is supported by a wide Muslim community. Additionally, the fact that this substantial award came through halal means and from fellow Muslims delighted my mother and father to no end.  

In general, creative writing and literary art are not the most financially lucrative of fields, but, nonetheless, these fields are essential for reshaping the socio-cultural perceptions of the Muslim-American community. And so the generosity of donors like you will allow an entire generation of Muslim scholars to pursue careers in these vital fields.

InshaAllah, the support you have given me at this early stage in my career will motivate me to work with greater persistence and enlivened faith so that one day I will be able to pass on this blessing to another generation of students and academics. Thank you again for your generosity.

: Jamil Jan Kochai is a graduate student in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Sacramento in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in English. While attending CSUS, he was selected as the recipient of the Dean’s Award for the College of Arts and Letters. After earning his bachelor’s degree at CSUS, Jamil attained his MA degree in English at the University of California, Davis. As a part of his MA thesis, Jamil completed his first novel 99 Nights in Logar, which, 
alhamdullilah, is set to be published by Viking Books.

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