Saudi Culture Minister Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud congratulated via Twitter 12-year-old Ritaj Al-Hazmi on being the world’s youngest author of a novels’ series to enter the Guinness Book of Records.
The girl’s first English-language novel, Treasure of the Lost Sea, was released in 2019, followed by Portal of the Hidden World in the same year. In 2021, she published her 3rd book, Beyond the Future World.
“One of the most important things that have helped me grow my writing ability is reading,” said the Saudi writer and author who speaks Arabic, English, and Japanese in a previous interview with Al-Arabiya.net.
She added: “My family was fundamental in assisting me regarding discovering her talents. I’ve always known I had a knack for writing. Despite some obstacles, I believe I am still in the process of discovering my strengths, and my family played a significant role in boosting my self-confidence and self-reliance.”
Ritaj participated in a variety of reading programs and events. Going to the library regularly and reading books were her favourite hobbies, adding she read more than 50 books in one year as part of one of the programs provided by the Aramco Library in Dhahran.
But how did she started writing and ended up in the famous Guinness book? “Before the age of eight, I used to only write short stories because I enjoy writing (…), and one day, when I was shopping for books, my father asked me ‘Do you want to have a book among these books?’ It was just an idea at the time, but it launched me into a new era in the world of writing when I began writing my first book at the age of eight”.
“With my family’s support and continuous follow-up, I finished the book at the age of nine (…), and we presented it for inspection. I discovered that nothing I submitted was under a novel’s structure”.
“After that, my family decided to teach me how to write a novel by enrolling me in a variety of advanced courses, from which I learned a lot.”
Ritaj explained that she rewrote the book using what she had learned at that point. She finished her first book at the age of 10 and published it when she was 11 years old, in 2019. Then, at the age of 12, she republished it, earning the title of the world’s youngest author of a novel series.
“I feel proud as the first Saudi kid to receive this title in the Guinness Book of Records,” she said. The young novelist dedicated it to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. She extended her sincere thanks to the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan for his constant support.
Ritaj concluded: “I was named the world’s youngest author of a series of novels, which is just the beginning of a long list of achievements. Now I’m working on a novel for the Booker Prize, which is considered one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.”