Zoulfa Katouh is a Syrian Canadian living in Switzerland. She’s a pharmacist, pursuing her master’s degree in Drug Sciences. Her debut novel is AS LONG AS THE LEMON TREES GROW coming out Fall 2022, making her the first Syrian YA author. She finds joy in Studio Ghibli, BTS, and walking in the nearby woodland forest beside her apartment building. Her taste in writing and books ranges from contemporary to fantasy across all subgenres. Just give her unapologetic poc, enemies to lovers, poc thriving, dark academia, love interests that remind her of Taylor Swift’s songs, and strong girls and she’ll eat it up like a hot fudge sundae. Her dream is to get Kim Namjoon to read her book.
How did we meet?
We connected after Zoulfa posted a tweet admiring how much of a thirst trap the great Kim Taehyung of BTS is, and bonded further over books, Asian dramas, and our shared immigrant experiences. I am simply delighted to be mentoring with such a smart, kind, generous, considerate, and humble human. Sob, thank you BTS and Taehyung’s beautiful face for bringing this human sunshine into my life.
Our Critique Partner Style:
We will offer our opinions and advice in plot, pacing, character, tension, and everything that makes a story great, but we don’t expect our mentee to take all of our critiques. Each book is so personal to its author, we want our mentee to love their own book first and foremost.
Zoulfa and I will read your book, write up our own notes, then cross reference with each other. Zoulfa will focus more on the character and romance, and I will focus mainly on plot and pacing; as well as crafting a killer, eye-grabbing pitch for the showcase. Our areas of intersection are prose and tension.
Why should you submit to us?
Because we are awesome and have killer eyeliner games. Haha, kidding. Well, kind of. Both Zoulfa and I have years of experience in publishing, which has helped us gain sharp editorial skills. We also compliment each other in our areas of expertise, with Zoulfa being a master of crafting heart pounding romance and characters you will follow into any story, and me being able to hone a story into engaging plots with simmering tension that keeps the readers turning the pages until the end.
Our Communication Style:
Zoulfa and I are happy to adapt our communication style to suit the mentee. Naturally, we are both informal but hands-on, and will be available for questions via twitter dms, text messages, Whatsapp, or whatever works best for you. Of course, if you are someone who prefers to get an edit letter then disappear into the revision cave until you’re done, we will respect that! We will have a group chat for general questions, or if you just want to gush about BTS, Lin Yanjun, books or dramas.
Our ideal mentee:
We would love someone whom we can be friends with. Someone hard working and believes in their book. As people of color and immigrants, both Zoulfa and I have a very strong work ethic, and would love it if our mentee shared the same passion, endurance, and determination to polish their book into something astonishing. With that being said, we don’t expect our mentee to finish the edits in a week. We get that life can get in the way of things and are happy to work with you on your schedule.
Pitchwars is an intense program. Revising a book in three months isn’t an easy feat, and can take a large mental toll on you. We want our mentee to love their book so much that no matter how hard things get, the love you have for your book will push you through the worst writers’ block and all of the imposter syndromes. Whomever we choose, we will have 100% faith in our mentee, and we hope you do, too.
Books we want:
The areas where we are specifically interested in are:
Zoulfa and I are both immigrants, and would love to find a book that focuses on the immigrant experience, and underdog stories. Please visit Zoulfa’s website for our full wishlist.
Check out the other mentors' wishlists here.