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Rukhsana Ahmad
Rukhsana Ahmad
Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, 2002/03

Project Fellow, 2003/04

Advisory Fellow, 2005-08

Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, 2009-11


Rukhsana Ahmad was born in Karachi and spent her formative years shuttling between major cities in Pakistan. She studied English Literature, then Linguistics at Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. After settling in Britain she resumed her study of English Literature at Reading University. She has freelanced as a writer since 1985 working across several genres but campaigning consistently for Asian writers specially women in her role as Artistic Director of Kali Theatre Company (1994 to 2002).

She is a founding member of the Asian Women Writers' Collective, and a founding trustee and current chair of SALIDAA (South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive). She was writer-in-residence in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the London Borough of Harrow. She was a Reader for the Theatre Committe of the Arts Council of England, an Adviser to its Translation Panel and a member of its Committee for the Review of Literary Journals. She was also a member of the Theatre Committee of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

Writing in the Community
In 2002, Meri Kahani, Meri Duniya was a follow-up series of drama workshops for survivors of domestic violence culminating in a show presented at Watermans Art Centre for Southall Black Sisters and Kali Theatre Company.


Project Fellowship
Rewriting Our Heroes and Heroines
From January 2004 to January 2005, Rukhsana Ahmad conducted a series of practical Creative Writing workshops at Queen Mary, University of London.

Writers' Pool
Rukhsana is a mentor for the RLF's current mentoring scheme for new writers.


Writing Credits 
Theatre Commissions
January 1986, Sepoy's Salt, Captain's Malt for Tara Arts Group
April 1986, Zarina and the King, story commissioned by Theatre Centre
January 1987, New Constitution, for Tara Arts based on a short story by Manto
October 1987 to April 1988, Prayer Mats and Tin Cans, Worcester Arts Workshop [Commissions and Options award]
June 1988, Shades of Limbo, Monstrous Regiment
January 1989, Recall, Middlesbrough Theatre Group
July 1990, Rags to Riches, Black Theatre Forum
April and Oct 1991, Song for a Sanctuary, Lyric Hammersmith and national tour [Nominated for the Susan Blackburn Smith award]
January 1996, The Gate-Keeper's Wife, for Alarmist Theatre.
March 1997, Adaptation of S. H. Manto's Black Shalwar for Kali Theatre
January 1997, River on Fire, commission Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Presented at Kali Theatre Lyric October 2000 [Short-listed for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award]
2001, The Man who refused to be God, commission Derby Playhouse
2003, Last Chance, British Council: Connecting Futures
2004, Partners in Crime for LIFT Enquiry
2005, Annie's Indian Home Rule for the Vayu Naidu Company

Fiction
November 1996, The Hope Chest, Virago

Short fiction
June 1988, The Nightmare, A Day for Nuggo, The Spell and The Everchanging Moon in Right of Way, The Women's Press
August 1990, The Gate-Keeper's Wife in The Inner Courtyard, Virago
1991, A Long Way to the Sea, Earth Tales for North South Productions
September 1991, Confessions and Lullabies in The Man Who Loved Presents, The Women's Press
May 1994, Cassandra and the Viaduct in Flaming Spirit, Virago
1995, The Treatment, Meeting the Sphinx and commissioned by Radio 4
1997, After Life in Kunapipi
2004, in Walking a Tightrope for Pan Macmillan

Translations
1991, We Sinful Women Contemporary Feminist Urdu Poetry, (ed. and translator), The Women's Press
1994, The One Who Did Not Ask, commissioned translation of a novel by Altaf Fatima, Heinemann International

Radio Plays
1993, Song for a Sanctuary, [runner-up for the Commission for Racial Equality 'Race in the Media' Award] 1993, Nawal el Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero (adaptation)
1994, Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (adaptation), [runner-up for the Writers' Guild Award for best radio dramatisation; runner-up for the Commission for Racial Equality 'Race in the Media' Award]
1995, An Urnful of Ashes, BBC Saturday Night play
1998, The Errant Gene, afternoon play
August 1998 - December 1999, Member of the writing team for Westway, BBC World Service Drama Series
1999, Adaptation of Harvest by M. Padmanabhan for BBC World Service
2000, The Banker's Tale for 2000 Tales (Radio 4's celebration of Chaucer's work)
2001, Freedom's Daughter: Indira Gandhi's Letters for Women's Hour
2002, The Guide: an adaptation of R. K. Narayan's novel World Service


Reviews

'What a find Ahmad is! She writes about women's legacy of grief without self-pity and if there is anger, it surfaces as wit.' Fay Weldon, on The Hope Chest, Mail on Sunday

'The Hope Chest is shot through with energetic vignettes, sly humour and refreshing indignation . . . ' Naseem Khan, India Today

'A painful passionate play that draws back the curtain that comes down between a married couple and the rest of the world.' Michael Arditti on Song for a Sanctuary, Evening Standard

'Kali Theatre's River on Fire is ripe with tensions and once it is fired up, it crackles with them, a drama that stays with you.' Mark Espiner, Time Out