Hafsah Faizal is an American author of young adult novels, best known for her New York Times best-selling fantasy novel We Hunt the Flame.
Hafsah Faizal was born in Florida and grew up in California. She is of Sri Lankan descent and is an American Muslim. Her parents are both Muslim Sri Lankan immigrants. Hafsah Faizal is the oldest of four children and has two sisters.
She was homeschooled starting age 13, the same age when she first started building her design skills, which ultimately turned into her founding her own web design company, IceyDesigns, at 17.
She wrote her first novel at 17. Aside from writing, she also has been running a book blog called IceyBooks since September 2010.
Hafsah Faizal self-published her first book, a young adult science fiction novel called Unbreathable, set in a distant future where Earth was destroyed and humanity settled on a new planet devastated by food shortages and oxygen scarcity, under the pen name Hafsah Laziaf in October 2013. Faizal says that her background in design influences her writing to the degree that she considers being a very visual writer.
Faizal wrote four other manuscripts before starting the first draft of We Hunt the Flame.
She found her literary agent through the Twitter book pitch contest #DVPit, finishing up the first draft of what would ultimately become We Hunt the Flame just before the contest started.
Inspired by ancient Arabia, the novel tells the story of a hunter who disguises herself as a man in order to travel into a dangerous forest and restore magic to her people. Faizal set the story in a world reminiscent of ancient Arabia, avoiding ties to South Asian cultures that she states are often wrongfully entwined with stories about the Middle East. She first got the idea to write the novel at 17, when she first came into contact with the young adult novel scene, due to being a book blogger. Faizal was inspired by The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings, asking herself the question “what if the games were set in a fantasy world?” and using that as the basis for her story.
We Hunt the Flame was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in May 2019 and debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, at #5. It debuted to favourable reviews, earning a star from Booklist, School Library Journal and the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.
It is the first of a planned duology called Sands of Arawiya, with a sequel titled We Free the Stars to be released January 19, 2021.