18th July to 17th August is South Asian Heritage Month! We are marking the occasion with a special online pay-what-you-feel event with two of our most prominant poets, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi and Shagufta K Iqbal.
It’s been some time since Shagufta and Afshan have had the chance to sit down and chat about their recent works. Afshan’s debut collection [re:desire] which came out in the summer of 2020, was long-listed for the Jhalak Prize. Shagufta has been working on numerous projects including SIRENS a collective response to climate change through poetry and performance. The evening will feature a short reading from both, followed by a Q&A open to participants watching on zoom.
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. Her first collection [re:desire] was published with Burning Eye Books in 2020.
As well as her own writing, Afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists and sits on the boards of Manchester Literature Festival and Pie Radio. Afshan also sits on the steering committee for Northern Police Monitoring Project, an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation that challenges police harassment and violence.
Founder of The YoniVerse Poetry Collective and Kiota Bristol, Shagufta K Iqbal longlisted for the Jerwood Compton poetry fellowship, is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, workshop facilitator and Tedx Speaker.
Described by gal-dem as a poet whose work ‘leaves you validated but aching – her narratives are important, heart-wrenching and relatable.’ Her poetry collection Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam’ (one of Burning Eye Books bestselling collections) has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla as ‘a social political masterclass.’
Her poetry film ‘Borders’ has won several awards, and has been screened across international film festivals, including London Short Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Athena Film Festival. She sits on the board for Cape Farewell (An Art Response to Climate Injustice), and is currently writing her second poetry collection and a debut novel.
South Asian Heritage Month was founded in 2020 to celebrate and raise the profile of British South Asians:
‘South Asian Heritage Month is about reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians. People need to be able to tell their own stories, and this is an opportunity to show what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century, as well as look to the past to see how Britain became the diverse country it is today.
South Asian influences can be found everywhere in Britain, from our food and clothes to our music and even our words. The streets of our towns and cities are rich with the colours, sights and sounds of proud South Asian identity. Its culture permeates all parts of British life and adds to the diversity of the nation.’
Find out more, and the programme of events: https://www.southasianheritage.org.uk/about