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Aubrey Fineout

Wafa Shaikh

2021 ELF recipient Wafa Shaikh was born and raised in Saudi Arabia by Pakistani parents and moved to Katy, Texas, in 2016. A writing major, she loves literary fiction but likes experimenting with different genres. She says she once thought of writing as a hobby but adds: “as I grow alongside my writing, it’s less of a hobby and more of a responsibility I am willing to dedicate my life to.”

One person who recommended her for the ELF Award said in addition to being an insightful student and a gifted writer, Wafa has developed into a responsible leader who motivates and empowers all who work with her: “Wafa courageously and unapologetically tackles women’s issues in her work — such as molestation, abuse and arranged marriage ― with the maturity and clarity of someone much older.” Another individual called Wafa a “remarkable storyteller,” and notes that she “writes from an uncommon perspective with a voice that is confident and distinct about experiences we do not read about often enough.” Wafa says her career plans are under consideration.