“There are other communities who are maybe experiencing what I experienced as a young girl 20 years ago,” she said. “I see things happening in Melbourne with the Sudanese community. The similarities are so stark. It’s not just a book for me, but a book for anybody … trying to understand exactly what is going on.

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“Frankly, I think it’s about time we hear quintessential Australian stories from Australians who aren’t white. Now feels like a really good time to bring those stories to the forefront.”

Fran said while the book will tackle some pretty intense themes such as being torn between two cultures, she wanted to ensure humour was weaved throughout because “nobody’s having a terrible time when they’re laughing”.

“I just think comedy is a really good way to deal with difficult subjects,” she said. “And I look back at that time [in my life] and it was, in a way, funny. It was something my friends in high school would talk about and laugh about and we found community and solidarity.

“This is my first time writing a book of any kind. I write for TV – my lines are one sentence long! It’s going to be a departure from what I’m used to. You know how they say, ‘Every journalist has a book inside them and that’s where it should stay?’ Well I’m bringing it out.”

Hachette Australia’s head of nonfiction Vanessa Radnidge said she was proud to be working on a book that will combine “intelligence, humour and humanity”.

“I have no doubt her memoir will … hold a mirror up to herself and, more importantly, the Australia we have become.”

Of Middle Eastern Appearance is expected to hit bookstores sometime in 2021.



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