Syahidah Ismail was born in Singapura (also known as Singapore) located in Nusantara (maritime Southeast Asia).
She currently lives with her partner and child on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations on Turtle Island. The land is also known as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Syahidah is Indigenous Malay of Bugis and Boyanese descent. She is Muslim. By all accounts, she is currently the only Singaporean author of Malay descent in the diaspora.
She started writing at age seven. She also enjoys music, food, and fashion.
Syahidah has previously lived in Japan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. She pursued higher education at the University of British Columbia where she graduated with First Class Honours and double degrees in Women’s Studies and Psychology.
Post-graduation, Syahidah worked in the non-profit industry focusing on media literacy, youth work, and women’s issues.
In 2015, she decided to pursue writing full-time. She started working on a manuscript shortly after. Her first novel, Saltwater Spirits, launched in June 2019. Since then, Saltwater Spirits has made its way to readers worldwide from North America to Asia, Australia, and Europe. It continues to receive critical acclaim.