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Who is Overtly Lit?

Overtly Lit is run by two budding writers who aim to celebrate all things that meet at the intersection of faith and art.

We want to see faith and spirituality explored creatively. Unfortunately, faith is often seen as something that must be hidden away, not spoken of. When spirituality and faith play such a large role in the lives of many, this attitude can lead to stifled creativity.

But why the name Overtly? When submitting our own work to other online journals, we often came across the requirement:

'nothing overtly religious'

This was a disheartening requirement to come across as writers of faith. While we respect other literary journals' choice to make this request, we wanted to create a space which celebrates faith in fiction and art. 
We believe that being religious can come in many shades and flavours, and what might look spiritual to one might seem mundane to another. That's not for us to say, we simply want to experience the journey with you. 

So bring us your quiet moments and chilling revelations, your wild adventures and soothing lullabies. Bring everything that makes your art Overtly You.

Home: Welcome

co-editors in chief


Safiya Cherfi

Safiya is a writer based in Scotland with a background in mental health nursing. She is a book reviewer focusing on BIPOC authors and translated literature. She writes short stories, published in Gutter & Sundial Magazine and forthcoming in Bandit Fiction & Noctivagant Press. She is currently working on a speculative fiction novel and one of her manuscripts was long-listed for the 2021 Laxfield Literary Launch Prize.

Safiya enjoys a variety of genres from fantasy to dystopia but has a soft spot for literary and historical fiction. She's fond of stories that explore magical realism and folklore and even more so when it incorporates faith. She'd be overjoyed to read submissions that delve into less explored history. 

You can find Safiya on Twitter and Instagram.

Madeehah Reza

Madeehah is a pharmacist and writer from London, UK. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has published several short stories and essays. Her work has been shortlisted for the Future Worlds Prize for fantasy and science fiction writers of colour.

Madeehah loves to read speculative fiction but is open to most genres. She's a fan of character-driven stories and beautiful prose. Madeehah has a current obsession with stories set in space, so a fun space opera + faith is a big YES! from her.

You can find more about her work here or follow her on Twitter.

Home: Meet the Team

poetry editors

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Sagirah Shahid

Sagirah Shahid is an African American Muslim poet, arts educator, and performing artist from Minneapolis, MN. Her poetry and prose is published in several literary journals including Mizna, Paper Darts, Khôra, Puerto Del Sol,Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere. When she isn’t creating art, Sagirah celebrates her life exploring poetry with the student-writers of Unrestricted Interest, a writing program and consultancy dedicated to supporting neurodivergent learners through creative writing.

Sagirah loves reading and listening to a wide variety of poetry. She has a soft spot for purposeful lyric poetry and poems that challenge the conventional boundaries of language and storytelling. From visual poems to ghazals, Sagirah is looking for poems that innovate and resist. Submit your unruly, wild, loud, shy, sly, poetic creations. I want to be challenged. I want to see the heart of your truth transformed on the page. 

Kara Dunford

Kara is a writer and nonprofit communications professional based in Washington, DC, writing digital content and press releases by day and poetry by night. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Brave Voices Magazine, Fahmidan Journal, Substantially Unlimited, Spoonie Journal, and boats against the current.

Some of her favorite poets include Fatimah Asghar, Chen Chen, Lucille Clifton, Matthew Olzmann, Maggie Smith, and Ocean Vuong. She’s a big fan of titles that welcome you into the poem’s world and ending lines that make you want to stay there.  

Come say hi on Twitter @kara_dunford.

Home: Meet the Team

prose editors


Sara Hassan

Sara is a writer and student based in Pakistan. She is currently pursuing an undergrad in English and Creative Writing. Sara has been published in both online and print media, most recently as a contributing author to Brown Sugar Lit Issue 4 and The Sapphic printing press Issue 5. She also holds the position of Campaigns Head and Content Editor at the non-profit media house Lighthouse Storytelling. Though her preferred style is mainly based on creative non-fiction, any gripping read easily makes its way into her favourites list.

An avid reader of fantasy and adventure, Sara first found her love for the stream of consciousness style of writing in the works of Virginia Woolf. Since then, works which tackled the inner workings of the human mind and its relation to one’s spirituality are what fascinated her the most.

You can find some of her work on Instagram.

Sadia Akhtar

Sadia is a journalist based in Scotland. In her free time, Sadia writes book reviews across different genres. She is currently working on a podcast with her friend and writing a children’s book.

Sadia enjoys a variety of genres but has a soft spot for fantasies and mysteries. She is fond of books that include mythical themes, especially middle-Eastern and East-Asian. Sadia would be overjoyed to read submissions that mix faith and mythology!

You can find Sadia on Instagram.

Home: Meet the Team
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