Rukhsana Ahmad has achieved distinction across several genres. Song for a Sanctuary, her first play, led to numerous commissions for the stage and radio. River on Fire (2001) was runner-up for the Susan Smith Blackburn theatre award and Wide Sargasso Sea for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain radio adaptation award. Her first novel The Hope Chest (Virago, 1996) captures the conflicting parallel lives of young women from the two worlds she knows best. Many of her short stories, published internationally, are included in The Gate-keeper’s Wife (ILQA, 2014).
With Rita Wolf, Rukhsana co-founded Kali Theatre Company, which she led for eight years. For a decade, she served as the (founding) chair of a South Asian literature and arts archive, Salidaa (now Sadaa). Rukhsana has held writing residencies across London and the regions, including bilingual ones, but has found her RLF fellowships to be the most sustaining and inspiring. Her acclaimed translation of Urdu feminist poetry We Sinful Women (The Women’s Press, 1991), an overtly political work, sprang equally from feminist concerns and her love of Urdu literature. It explores themes of belief and unbelief that still obsess her, permeating the work in progress: a second novel Shrine in the Desert and a feature film The Tainted Gene.
Karachi-born Rukhsana acquired an English MA from Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. Her most recent Masters degree reflects her current passion: screenwriting. Rukhsana lives in London with her husband. They have raised three talented children who live abroad.