This Saturday 17th October at 11am join BE 2020 poet Afshan D’souza-Lodhi in conversation with Semi Seneviratne about their new collections with live readings. This event is in association with Seni’s publisher, the brilliant Peepal Tree Press. Register for free tickets: yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.


Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s debut poetry collection [re:desire] explores the yearning to love, be loved and belong from a desi (South Asian) perspective. Her work sits on the intersections of flash fiction, poetry and script, echoing the hybridity of the worlds that many young British desis find themselves occupying. Drawing on the poetry of many different languages and cultures – Urdu, English, Konkani, Islamic and Christian – this collection explores how we access our traditions from a distance.

‘Afshan is without a doubt the poets voice I have been waiting for, her poems take you on a journey questioning all those places we have been and are going to; her work is witty , beautiful and poignant showing us language has no boundaries.’ – Shobna Gulati

Afshan D’souza-Lodhi is an award-winning writer of plays and poetry. She has been commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop). Afshan has edited many anthologies and has an essay featured in Picador’s collection by Muslim women called Its Not About The Burqa. She has completed residencies at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Literature Festival and has worked with Eclipse Theatre, Tamasha Theatre Company and Paul Burston’s Polari.


Seni Seneviratne, born and raised in Leeds, is of English and Sri Lankan heritage. She has given readings, performances and workshops in UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Egypt and Kuwait.  She currently works as a freelance writer, mentor, trainer and creative consultant. 

Published by Peepal Tree Press, her debut collection, Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin (2007), includes a poem, which was Highly Commended in the Forward Poetry Prize.   The Heart of It (2012), her second collection, includes her poem ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which was shortlisted in the Arvon International Poetry Competition (2010).

May 1941. Two signalmen meet for the first time in an army camp in the North African desert. The only surviving record of the friendship is an album of black and white photographs. The subject of the photographs is the first soldier, a twenty-four year old Ceylonese telephone and telegraph fitter who in 1940 enlisted in the Royal Signals. The second soldier is the photographer. This is the starting point for Seni Seneviratne’s third collection. Through the photographs she finds the voices of the two men and thus begins her journey to meet her father, the first soldier, the unknown soldier.