A. H. Nayyar
Abdul Hameed Nayyar, also known as A.H. Nayyar, is a Pakistani physicist, author, and a freelance consultant on the issues of education, nuclear safety, and energy. He served on the faculty of Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad until his retirement in 2005. Since retirement he has held several research and teaching positions. He was Senior Fellow, SDPI, Islamabad; Country Director, Developments in Literacy; Director, Ali Institute of Education, Lahore; and Visiting Professor, LUMS. He has been regularly spending summer months at Princeton University, USA, as a visiting research scientist. He has edited an Urdu volume Taqat ka Sarab debating nuclear weapons and energy policies.
Born in Karachi in 1955, renowned short story writer, Aamer Hussein moved to London in 1970. He studied Persian, Urdu, and History at SOAS. He has published six acclaimed collections of short fiction, including Mirror to the Sun, This Other Salt, Turquoise, Cactus Town: Selected Stories, Insomnia, and, most recently, The Swan’s Wife (2014). He has also published a novella, Another Gulmohar Tree, and a novel The Cloud Messenger. He edited Kahani: Short Stories by Pakistani Women and has published short fiction in Urdu in Dunyazad. Hussein is a regular columnist for Dawn and reviews regularly for the Independent. A Professorial Writing Fellow at the University of Southampton and Senior Fellow in International Literatures at the Institute of English Studies (London University), he is currently a Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Pakistan at SOAS. He has contributed to the Oxford University Press anthologies Dragonfly in the Sun and Leaving Home, and the title story to Fires in an Autumn Garden.
Adrian A Husain
Adrian A Husain was educated in England and Switzerland. He did his BA (Hons.) at New College, Oxford. He received a PhD for a thesis on Shakespeare and Machiavelli from the University of East Anglia and authored the critically acclaimed Politics and Genre in Hamlet (OUP, 2004). He is a winner of the prestigious Guinness Poetry Prize. A selection of his poems was published under the title Desert Album as part of Pakistan’s Jubilee in English series (OUP, 1997). His collection of sonnets titled Italian Window was published in 2017. His next collection of sonnets, Knife of the Tide awaits publication.
Afshan Shafi lives in Lahore and has studied English Literature and International Studies at the University of Buckingham. She is a senior contributing editor at The Aleph Review. She has published two collections of poetry and is working on her first novel.
A political and cultural commentator and author, Soueif’s bestselling book, The Map of Love, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1999) and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in January 2014. From 2011 to 2015, she wrote for al-Shorouk in Egypt. In 2007, Ms Soueif co-founded the Palestine Festival of Literature, which takes place annually in the cities of occupied Palestine and Gaza. The first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (Palestine) (2010), she has also received the Metropolis Bleu (Canada) and the Constantine Cavafy (Egypt and Greece) (2012) awards. In October 2019, she received the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award for Culture.
A well-known poet and literary critic, he writes mostly in Urdu. He has also written in Persian,
English, and Potohari. His published books include Apni Apni Saleeb, Qalamrau, Abad Taab,
and Sitara Saaz. The winner of numerous literary awards, Usman is also a literary critic and has
been writing for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan and overseas.
Alan Humm is a poet and novelist. His first collection of poems is called Counter-tenor and he is currently at work on his second, entitled A Brief and Biased History of Love. He is halfway through a novel about Charles Dickens and is the editor of One Hand Clapping.
Ali Usman Qasmi
Ali Usman Qasmi is Associate Professor (History), School of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS. He has published extensively in reputed academic journals such as Modern Asian Studies and Journal of Islamic Studies. Dr Qasmi is the author of Questioning the Authority of the Past: The Ahl al-Qur’an Movements in the Punjab (OUP, 2011). His second monograph, The Ahmadis and the Politics of Religious Exclusion in Pakistan received the Karachi Literature Festival Peace Prize in 2015. Dr Qasmi has co-edited several edited volumes as well, which include Revisioning Iqbal as a Poet and Muslim Political Thinker, The Shi’a in Modern South Asia: Religion, History and Politics, and Muslims against the Muslim League: Critiques of the Ideas of Pakistan.
Ambareen Hasib Amber
Ambareen Hasib Amber is a lecturer in Urdu, a renowned poet and critic, a TV anchor, and analyst. She has written five books among which are Dil kay Ufaq per, Asri Adab kay Rujhanat, Urdu mein Taraqi Pasand Tanqeed ka Tahqqiqi Mutala and has recently published an anthology of Urdu poetry. She has received numerous awards including Parveen Shakir’s Aks e Khusboo Award, UBL Literary Award, and Anjuman Taraqi Pasand Musanefeen Award. She has represented Pakistan internationally and has enthralled thousands of people with her poetry that addresses various social issues which she has discussed as a guest panelist on several television shows.
Amena Kamaal, Co-CEO of MindMap Communications, is a media, digital, advocacy and communications skills trainer. Her work in the corporate and development sector is being taught as case studies in MIT, Harvard, and Stanford University. She has degrees from the US in studio art and communications and has experience in advertising, web development, corporate communications, public relations and development communication. She has worked for the UN, World Food Programme, UNRC, UNDP, UNICEF, and WHO. After retiring from the UN, she co-founded a digital firm working on digital marketing and social media campaigns for social causes and corporate clients. She has done international and national consultancies with UNWOMEN, World Bank, Mercy Corps, TAF, and recently with AUSAID, NACTA and DFID. Amena also writes for blogs, magazines, and newspapers and speaks on communications, culture, and narrative building.
Amjad Islam Amjad
Amjad Islam Amjad is an Urdu language poet, dramatist, lyricist, and man of letters. He is perhaps best known for writing the television drama series Waris, which was followed by Dehleez, Samandar, Raat, Waqt, and Apnay Log. He has received many awards for his work, including Pride of Performance in 1987 and Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1998. He began his working life as a lecturer in M.A.O. College, Lahore. He worked as a deputy director at the Punjab Council of the Arts from 1975 to 1979, before returning to teaching. In 1989, Amjad was appointed Director General of Urdu Science Board. He has also worked as a project director of the Children’s Library Complex. In addition to his famous TV drama series, Amjad has written many columns, translations, criticism and essays while his main focus remained on writing poetry. In June 2008, he joined the Urdu newspaper Daily Express and writes a column titled Chashm-e-Tamasha.
Anam Zakaria is a development professional, educationist, researcher, and cultural facilitator. She has an academic background in international development from McGill University and started her career with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan in 2010. She led their Oral History Project, collecting narratives of the first and second generations of Pakistanis. She is the author of 1971: A People’s History from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India (2019); Between the Great Divide: A Journey into Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (2018); and The Footprints of Partition: Narratives of Four Generations of Pakistanis and Indians (2015), which won her the 2017 KLF-German Peace Prize. She writes frequently on issues of conflict and peace. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, Dawn, Wire.in, and Scroll.in.
A poet in the Urdu and Punjabi languages and scholar of Persian, Muhammad Anwar Masood hails from Gujrat, Punjab. He is particularly well known for his comic poetry; however, his works include other genres as well. He studied at Zamindar College, Gujrat, and Punjab University Oriental College, Lahore, obtaining a Master’s in Persian from the latter. Thereafter, he taught at Punjab University until retirement in 1996. He was a member of the visiting faculty of Government College University, Lahore, in the Department of Humanities. He has published three volumes of poetry in Urdu and eight in Punjabi, in addition to scholarly prose works and articles in numerous magazines.
Anwar Shaoor is one of the most prolific Urdu poets of our time. He has a large following amongst admirers of Urdu poetry and has received high accolades from critics and contemporaries alike. With three collections of ghazals to his credit, Andokhta, Mashq-e-Sukhan, and Mee Raqsam, his work is read in literary journals around the world.
Arfa Sayeda Zehra
An educationist, literary personality, and Urdu language expert. Dr Zehra is the alumna of the Lahore College for Women University; Government College University; and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Dr Zehra is a professor of history at Forman Christian College University and a former principal of the Lahore College for Women University.
Arifa Noor is a journalist with over 20 years of experience, working in various Pakistani publications. She has held senior editorial positions with the Dawn Media Group and currently hosts a current events show for Dawn News.
Arshad Saeed Husain
Arshad Saeed Husain took over as the Managing Director of Oxford University Press, Pakistan in February 2018. He has over 25 years of experience of leading multinational companies in Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, and Life Sciences sectors. Prior to joining OUP, Arshad served as the CEO of Aman Health Care Services. Earlier, Arshad served as the Managing Director of Abbott Laboratories Pakistan Limited. He was Managing Director of Syngenta Pakistan Limited and also served as President Director of PT Syngenta, Indonesia. He has also served in senior leadership positions at GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Limited and ICI Pakistan Limited. Arshad has been President of the American Business Council and was also Chairman of the Pharma Bureau. He was also a founding member of the Swiss Business Council and Chairman of CropLife Pakistan. He also serves on the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Karachi Metropolitan. Arshad is a graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE) with a specialization in International Trade and Development.
Asad Ali is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work focuses on the relationship of the political and the religious, as mediated by language and law. He is particularly interested in rethinking the historical formation and contemporary possibilities of liberalism, secularism, and religion in postcolonial Pakistan. His current interests and projects include work on censorship and populist language of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Before becoming an anthropologist, he worked as a journalist and documentary film-maker, and then taught at Harvard for some years where he, along with Vazira Zamindar, organized the two Brown-Harvard Pakistani film festivals.
Ashfaq Hussain, a Canadian of Pakistan origin, is a well-known poet and writer. He is considered as one of the pioneers of Urdu literary activities in Canada. Ashfaq published a highly reputable monthly literary journal, Urdu International, under the guidance of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Currently he is Associate Editor of a children’s book series, a joint project of Multicultural Department, Government of Canada, and Urdu Chair of McGill University, to prepare Urdu reading and writing materials for Canadian students as well as a teaching manual for Urdu teachers. In 2011, he was honoured with the prestigious President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Award. Some of his publications include Aitabar (1979), Aashian Gum Karda (2009), Mein Gaya Waqt Naheen Hoon (2010).
Baela Raza Jamil
Baela Raza Jamil is Chair, PAL Network Advisory Committee and CEO, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, leading the citizen-led Annual Status of Education Report, Pakistan. Baela is the founder of the Children’s Literature Festival in Pakistan and Managing Trustee at the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust. She is the commissioner to the international commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission); and ser ves as one of the twelve global/commonwealth members of UK-Platform for Girls Education. Baela is Chair, Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) SDG 4.2 at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) and advisory member, Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC Ed). She serves on several boards and coalitions on education and child rights in Pakistan.
Bilal Zahoor is the founder and editorial director of Folio Books—a Lahore-based independent publishing house. He studied chemical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, but did not let his academic training obstruct his passion for establishing an independent publishing platform in Pakistan. Bilal aspires to contribute to a more socially just-world by publishing works bucking the neoliberal trends and authoritarian tendencies. He is the c0-editor (with Raza Rumi) of Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective.
Bina Shah is a Karachi-based author and novelist. Her novel, A Season for Martyrs, received critical acclaim and her feminist dystopian novel, Before She Sleeps, is coming soon. A regular contributor to The New York Times, Al Jazeera, and The Huffington Post, Bina is a frequent guest on the BBC. She has contributed essays and op-eds to Granta, The Independent, and The Guardian, and writes a regular column for Dawn. She has been a president of the Alliance Française de Karachi and works on issues of women’s rights and female empowerment in Pakistan and across Muslim countries.
Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq
Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq is an Islamabad-based educationist. He is the Founder and CEO of Roots Millennium Schools—operating fifty schools across Pakistan—and the non-profit organization Change in Education Foundation working in support of Public Private Partnerships in education. This foundation has successfully reformed more than 250 government schools across various districts, provinces and rural communities in Pakistan. With its pioneering Chinese language initiative, Roots Millennium School has generated considerable interest among Pakistan’s academic community.
Christina Oesterheld is a German scholar who studied Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her doctoral thesis (1986) was on three novels by the Urdu writer Qurratulain Hyder. Since 1990, she has been teaching Urdu at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg. Her main research interests are the history of prose literature in Urdu with a special focus on fiction from the nineteenth century to the present, north-Indian Muslim reform movements and their literary production, and popular Urdu media. Her articles on these topics have been published in the Annual of Urdu Studies and several other journals and edited volumes. She is co-author of a Hindi-German dictionary, has co-edited a volume on humour in South Asian literatures, German translations of Indian short stories and a Reader of contemporary Urdu prose and poetry in German translation. She has also translated an anthology of short stories by Manto. At present, she is translating short stories by Ismat Chughtai into German for an anthology. Together with Amtul Manan Tahir she has written an Urdu textbook for German speakers, Urdu für Anfänger.
Declan Walsh is the Cairo bureau chief for The New York Times, covering Egypt and the Middle East. He was previously based in Pakistan. He spent five months in the United States during the 2016 presidential campaign to write a column, Abroad in America, that considered the election from the perspective of a foreign correspondent. Born and raised in Ireland, his work has focused on social and political change. His investigation into a fraudulent Pakistani software company in 2015 caused it to shut down. He has embraced new digital forms of storytelling including a narrated journey across Syria in 2016. He started his career at The Sunday Business Post in Dublin before moving to Nairobi, Kenya in 1999 to report on sub-Saharan Africa as a freelance reporter. In 2004, he moved to Islamabad, Pakistan, covering Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Guardian. He joined The New York Times in 2011 as Pakistan bureau chief. The Pakistani authorities expelled him from the country in May 2013 for unspecified reasons. From his base in Cairo he has covered the wars in Libya and Syria, political crisis in the Gulf, and repression in Egypt. In August 2017, he wrote an investigation into the death of Giulio Regeni, an Italian graduate student killed in Cairo, for The New York Times magazine. His writing has also been published in the Granta magazine.
Eatisam Ul Haq
Diriliş Ertuğrul (known as Ertugrul Ghazi in Pakistan) currently on PTV. Have you wondered who’s voice is being used in the Urdu dubbing for Engin Altan Duzyatan? Well, meet the voice behind him, he is Eatisam Ul Haq, producer, broadcaster and a passionate voice over artist currently serving Radio Pakistan. A gold-medalist in journalism, he also is the youngest Pakistani producer to teach courses related to radio production in different universities. He’s been associated with Pakistan’s entertainment industry since 2007.
Fahad Naveed is a Karachi-based journalist, visual artist and filmmaker. He holds an MA in news and documentary film from New York University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar (2017–19). Fahad is currently an editorial staffer at Dawn. Fahad is one of the founders of an interdisciplinary artist collective called Mandarjazail Collective. He is also a co-founder of the Documentary Association of Pakistan, an initiative to promote the art of documentary film in the country. His writing, photographs and films have been featured by various Pakistani and international publications and news outlets.
Dr Faisal Bari is Associate Professor of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and Associate Fellow at Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), He has been working/publishing on education issues for more than a decade now. He leads the research cluster on education at IDEAS. Dr Faisal’s current research interests are: quality of education issues in low cost private schools, the role of Private Public Partners, and governance reform issues in public sector education. He has a doctorate from McGill University and has been a teacher/researcher for the last 15 years.
Faraz Talat is a newspaper columnist and the author of the medical science-fiction novelette, Seventy-Four (2020). He is a medical doctor working in the psychiatric field, formerly practicing in Devon, England. Dr Talat is the founder of Cafe Sol / iO – The Space which focuses on mental health advocacy and hosts an inclusive community of writers and artists in Islamabad.
Gwendolyn S. Kirk
Gwendolyn S. Kirk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS. She is a linguistic anthropologist whose research centers on language ideologies, and popular culture in Pakistan. Her current book project is an ethnography addressing questions of language, performance, and aesthetics in the Punjabi film industry in Lahore. Her research on media includes work on technology and aesthetics in Pakistani cinema, language and gender in Punjabi films, performance of ethnolinguistic identities in Pakistani comedy serials, explorations of transnational identity formations in diasporic films such as Pehlwanji in London (dir. Haidar Chaudhry, 1971) and Maula Jatt in London (dir. Yunus Malik, 1981), and work on horror and nostalgia in Zibahkhana (dir. Omar Ali Khan, 2007). Some of her other research projects have focused on semantics in performative genres of South Asian literature, on linkages between global politics and South Asian librarianship, and on ethnographic reflexivity. She is also the Language Pedagogy Coordinator for the Gurmani Centre for Languages and Literature.
A banker by profession, Haroon Khalid is a Chief Compliance Officer at a large Pakistani bank. He grew up in a literary environment and has written satires and essays for various newspapers, which have been collected and compiled as a book. He is the author of Melody of a Tear and Threadbare. Haroon is an award-winning author. His book Melody of a Tear has recently won the UBL debut English fiction award 2020. He is currently working on his 3rd Novel.
A leading Urdu and English language poet, essayist, and a columnist, Harris Khalique has published nine collections of verse and two books of nonfiction including Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan. His poetry has been anthologized internationally and translated into several languages. He is a recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance (2018) and the UBL Literary Excellence Award (2013) in the category of Urdu poetry for his collection Melay Mein. He has worked professionally and voluntarily for community development and human rights. Currently, he is the Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
She is Associate Dean and an Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at IBA, Karachi. Her teaching and research experience spans a period of over twenty years and she has to her credit forty-plus publications. She works with both national and international media as an international relations expert and political analyst since 1999 and worked as both an analyst and an anchorperson on PTV for ten plus years, followed by Chanel 24 and News One. Dr Baqai is also associated with Radio Pakistan and the Voice of America. Currently, she serves on the boards of directors of numerous educational institutions and private and non-profit organizations and is a part of Track-II and Track 1.5 diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan. She is a visiting faculty at National Institute of Management, Karachi and Command and Staff College, Quetta.
A prominent Urdu poet, scholar, and literary personality. Several collections of Iftikhar Arif’s poetry have been published, including the rendition of his poetry into English, titled Written in the Season of Fear (OUP, 2003). Arif has headed the Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Authority, and the National Book Foundation. He has been President of the ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran, Iran. He presently heads the National Language Promotion Department, National History and Literary Heritage Division, Islamabad. He has received numerous awards, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award.
Iftikhar Dadi is associate professor in Cornell University’s Department of History of Art. He has authored Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia and co-edited Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space; and Unpacking Europe: Towards a Critical Reading. Dadi serves on the editorial advisory boards of Bio-Scope: South Asian Screen Studies; Archives of Asian Art and is advisor to Asia Art Archive. As an artist, he works collaboratively with Elizabeth Dadi. Their practice investigates memory, borders, and identity in contemporary globalization, the productive capacities of urban informalities in the Global South, and the mass culture of post-industrial societies.
An English language poet, editor, and critic, Ilona is also a designer and printmaker. Presently
Associate Editor of The Aleph Review, she has also freelanced for Nukta, Newsline, and ArtNow, and written essays on Pakistani poetry in English. Her poems have been published in books and literary journals, locally and abroad, in print and digital media. She has worked as an editor for the Alhamra Literary Review, and guest edited a special issue of Pakistani poetry in English for the Canadian poetry magazine Vallum.
Kamran Asdar Ali is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin. He has previously conducted ethnographic research in Mexico and Egypt. In recent years his publications have focused on labor history, urban issues, popular culture, and cinema studies in Pakistan.
A singer, actor, songwriter, theatrical producer, radio presenter, and performer, Khaled Anam is a founding member of Grips Theatre, Pakistan and an ambassador Children’s Literature Festival. He has performed in both children’s and regular theatre all over Pakistan and abroad. As part of a core team responsible for translating and adapting over 100 episodes of Open Sesame of Children’s Television Workshop into Urdu, he translated and re-recorded the songs of all episodes. He is also the author of Bachon kay Geet. In recognition of his services to children’s theatre and education, Anam has been conferred the Goethe-Institut Award of Merit and the President’s Pride of Performance (2018).
Professor Dr Khurshid Rizvi is a scholar of oriental languages. He is fluent in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English and Punjabi. In 2008, in recognition of his services to literature, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. Presently, he is associated with the Government College University, Lahore as Professor Emeritus.
Dr Rizvi also has the distinction of being a member of the Arabic Language Authority, Cairo, an honour previously bestowed on Allama Abdul Aziz Memon from Pakistan. He has been awarded the Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi Award 2005, Ahmad Faraz Literary Award 2012, Khalid Ahmad Award 2013, UBL Literary Excellence Award (Urdu Poetry) 2013, Majlis-e- Farogh-e-Urdu Adab, Doha, Qatar’s Award 2015.
Madiha Shahid is a lawyer by training and an entrepreneur. She has been writing stories for digests for several years. She is also an acclaimed scriptwriter who penned the popular play tilted Digest Writer (2014) that charts the struggles of a digest writer.
Maham Ali is a communications specialist based in Islamabad, Pakistan who has been working in the development sector for the last six years. Maham started her career as the coordinator for the Children’s Literature Festival and is its first CEO. She later joined PEMRA as a Media and Public Relations Consultant and has also worked with the USAID funded program, Pakistan Reading Project, as part of World Learning staff. For the last four years, Maham has been acting as an advisor to the Karachi-based organisation, The Dawood Foundation. Apart from her professional work, Maham is known for raising her voice for various social issues in her personal capacity. Maham also assists and provides moral, financial and logistical support in cases of domestic violence and abuse, coordinating with survivors and their families and with relevant state authorities to ensure their safety and ability to be removed from abusive environments.
Born and raised in Karachi, Maheen Zeeshan holds an MBA in Marketing and is a former banker. She has worked as a language trainer in South Korea and a teacher in the Middle East. Maheen is the author of Talha and Aminah Tales, a series for children books published by Oxford University Press. A mother of three, she draws her inspiration from her children to write stories.
Maliha Ahmed has a M.A. in School Leadership from the Australian Catholic University. She has presented papers at Educational Conferences and written for Educational Journals. She is a member of Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) and has presented papers at the SPELT International Conferences. She has actively involved in professional development training programmes and is presently the Director Programmes at Happy Home School, Karachi.
Mehvash Amin is editor-in-chief and publisher of The Aleph Review, a print and online journal of art and literature. Recipient of a gold medal in English and French Literature from the University of the Punjab, she went on to study Modern Letters at the Sorbonne, Paris. Her poems have been published in various literary journals, such as Vallum, New International Poetics (Canada), Sugar Mule (US), The Missing Slate, the South Asia Literary Review, as well as in book anthologies. One of her poems, ‘Karachi’, was nominated for the Pushcart Award. The poem was also Pakistan’s entry in The Missing Slate’s Poetry World Cup, with poets from all over the world. She was runner-up in that competition. She is also a board member of The Taufiq Rafat Foundation. She has been editor of Libas International, Hello! Pakistan, and T.Edit, the magazine of The Express Tribune, a partner of the international edition of The New York Times.
Moeed W. Yusuf
Dr Moeed W. Yusuf is the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning. Prior to his appointment, Dr Yusuf was serving as chairman, Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC) since October 2019. A former Associate Vice President for Asia at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., Dr Yusuf has also consulted for a number of Pakistani and international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, the UNDP, and the SIPRI. From 2004–7, he was a full-time consultant with the SDPI, Islamabad. He has published widely in national and international journals, professional publications, and magazines. He is the author/editor of multiple books: Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia (2018); South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures (co-edited) (2013); Getting it Right in Afghanistan (co-edited) (2013); Pakistan’s Counter-terrorism Challenge (2014); and Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia: From a Peacebuilding Lens (2014). Dr Yusuf has taught political science/international relations at Boston University, George Washington University, LUMS, and the Quaid-i-Azam University. He has also served on a number of important task forces, advisory councils, working groups, and governing boards, both internationally and in Pakistan. He holds a master’s in international relations and PhD in political science from Boston University, USA.
Momina Mela, a former Papercuts associate poetry editor, is a writer from Lahore, Pakistan, and a BA English Literature graduate from Goldsmiths. She was short-listed to be Young Poet Laureate for London in 2013, and also short-listed for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and National Student Poetry Competition (UK). She has carried out poetry writing workshops through DWL in Lahore which are designed specifically for Pakistani poets writing in English. She has read her work in Southbank Centre and the Houses of Parliament amongst other events and locations in London as well as having a poem featured in an outdoor gallery in Shoreditch, London. Her work has appeared in Smiths Magazine, Lighthouse Journal, Thrice Fiction, and National Student Poetry Anthology.
Munazza Yaqoob is Chair, Department of English, Founder & Director of Critical Thinking Forum (CTF), and former Director, Institute of Professional Development (IPD) at IIUI. She is a member of International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) (French: Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée—AILC); Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI); and American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). She is author of two books: Nurturing Creativity in Literature Classrooms: Cognitive Teaching Model for Developing Creative Thinking, and An Introduction to Pakistani Women Writers (1947–2017); she has also edited the book Muslim Women Writers of the Subcontinent (1870–1950).
A literary critic, editor, and author of the definitive work Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English. A regular contributor to the Pakistani press, Muneeza is editor (South Asia) for the online Literary Encyclopedia, and has edited three pioneering anthologies of Pakistani English literature, including the award-winning And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (2005). She is bibliographic representative for The Journal of Commonwealth Literature and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. She was jury member for the 2013 DSC Prize and Regional Chairperson (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize from 2009–2011.
Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Nadeem Zaman grew up there and in Chicago. He is the author of the novel, In the Time of the Others, which was longlisted for the 2019 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the story collection Up in the Main House. He studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago and received a PhD in comparative humanities with concentrations on fiction and postcolonial studies at the University of Louisville. He currently lives in Maryland, where he teaches in the English department at St. Mary’s College, Maryland.
A writer, poet, and academic, she has authored twelve books and fifty research papers, published in national and international journals. Currently, she is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Urdu at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. Dr Arif was the founder co-editor of the research journal Meyār, and the Guest Editor of Bunyād—the research ournal of LUMS. She is also the editor of the first indexation agency of Urdu journals in Pakistan.
An Urdu poet, short story writer, columnist, and translator residing in Canada. She has published seven books: Aadhi Gawahi; Samundar Rasta Dega; Jis Tan Lage; Shumali America ke Haqiqi Bashindon ke Shaer; Khush Guzranguzar Gae; European Nau Aabadyat ke Aboriginal Adab Per Asrat; and Teele Bhae Aag. Aadhi Gawahi was chosen as the best book of the year and received an award from Los Angeles Urdu Markaz. Samunder Rasta Dega also received the best book of the year award from Washington Adbi Markaz. She is the chair of the Canadian Urdu Writers Forum.
Noorul Huda Shah
Noorul Huda Shah is a well-known and respected short story writer, playwright, poet, columnist, and broadcaster. She writes both in Urdu and her native language Sindhi. A familiar name in the Pakistani drama industry, she is famous for very popular serials including Jungle, Marvi, Bebak, Meri Adhuri Moahabat, Ajayb Ghar, Adhoora Milan, and Ishq Gumshuda. She was CEO of A-Plus television. Her work reflects the depth of her thoughts on cultural and socioeconomic issues that prevail in the country.
Nudrat Kamal teaches comparative literature and writing at IBA, Karachi. She has written on literature, film and television, and culture for various publications including Dawn, The Wire, Newsline and The Express Tribune. Her chapter titled “The Postcolonial Cyborg in Amitav Ghosh’s The Calcutta Chromosome” was recently published in Palgrave Macmillan’s Ethical Futures and Global Science Fiction.
An Islamabad based scholar, poet, academic, and editor. With a PhD in Manto’s fiction, he is Professor of Urdu Literature and Head of Department at GC, Rawalpindi. A faculty member of the International Islamic University, Islamabad, for more than a decade, Dr Nadeem has written ten books of criticism, history, fiction, and poetry. He has published more than fifty research and literary articles in
scholarly journals. His major area of interest is socio-political based critical analysis. Manto
ki Aurtein; Tissue Paper pe likhi Nazmein; and Dehshut ke Mausm mein Likhi Nazmein are some of his books.
Ritu Menon is a feminist publisher and writer, based in Delhi. She is the author of several books, including the path-breaking Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (OUP 1998), the critically acclaimed Out Of Line: A Literary and Political Biography of Nayantara Sahgal, and of the forthcoming, Zohra! A Biography in Four Acts.
Rumana Husain is an author, illustrator and educator. She is the author of two coffee-table books: Karachiwala—A Subcontinent within a City (2010) and Street Smart—Professionals on the Street (2015). In 1988 she co-founded the Bookgroup and, in 2004, an international art magazine, NuktaArt. Husain has been a contributor to various newspapers and magazines, and has authored/illustrated over sixty children’s books for several publishers including the Oxford University Press. She is the recipient of the Nepal Children’s Literature Society Award for Prerana and Laal Peela (2013); UBL-Jang Literary Excellence Award (2014) for a biography of Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan, in the graphic story series published by Oxford University Press; and Award for Excellence for Laal Badaam published by Pratham Books India (2016).
Salman Tarek Kureshi
An English language poet, writer, and columnist. Salman Tarek Kureshi is presently engaged as an editorial consultant at Oxford University Press. Kureshi’s poems have appeared in anthologies such as Pieces of Eight; Legacy of the Indus; The Blue Wind; Dragonfly in the Sun; An Anthology; Journal of Postcolonial Writing; and a solo volume Landscapes of the Mind. Some of his poems and short stories have been published in the annual Pakistan Journal of Literature. As a columnist, he writes on socio-political topics in the weekly The Friday Times and the dailies Dawn and Daily Times.
Sana Munir has authored two books of fiction, The Satanist: A Novel and Unfettered Wings: Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Women. She has co-edited the anthology, The Stained Glass Window in 2020 which is a collection of short stories from various academics, authors, journalists, TV celebrities and maiden writers, about the ongoing pandemic in Pakistan. Unfettered Wings is part of curriculum at COMSATS and UMT for students of English Literature, and been shelved at prestigious universities here and abroad. Academic papers about Unfettered Wings can be found at academic portals such as bookreview.org and researchgate.net. Unfettered Wings has been represented at of Sonali Bendre’s Bookclub, Karachi Literature Festival, Islamabad Literature Festival and Book Bakers Literature Festival (Delhi), Valley of Words Literature Festival (Dehra Doon) she has spoken of feminism and writing at Sukhan – Circle of Stories, The Little Art Organization and more virtual platforms. Sana has and continues to conduct workshops at the University of Bangalore, University of Delhi, University of Madras, COMSATS University, LCWU, UHE and others. She is currently writing a novel.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali
Shahnaz Wazir Ali is a recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2016 for her services to education. She has an illustrious career as an educationist, development policy specialist, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector and as a well-known women’s rights activist. From 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996, she served in key decision-making positions in government, in the first term as Federal Minister of State for Education and subsequently, as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sectors. she spent about fifteen years in teaching and administrative positions in the private sector, which included being Principal at the Lahore American School. She is also a Trustee of the Education Trust which runs Nasra Schools for children of low-income families in Karachi and provides K10 education to more than10,000 students. From 1997–2001, she served as the Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank in Islamabad. Currently, she is Provincial Coordinator for the Government of Sindh for all primary health care programs including maternal and child health and Family Planning Programs. She is also the President of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Sciences and Technology (SZABIST).
A native of Tharparkar, Sindh, Shahzad Sharjeel grew up in Karachi. His collection of Urdu poetry Kiyun was published in 2008. His collection of satire essays is expected soon. He regularly writes for Dawn and also teaches International Political Economy, Social Policy, and Development Communication at public and private universities. He began his career in journalism and then moved to the field of development where he worked for more than two decades. In addition to Karachi and Islamabad, he has worked in Washington, Abuja, and Tokyo on development and diplomatic assignments. His preferred genre of expression in poetry is ghazal, and satire in prose. He has a post-graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Karachi where he has also taught and also studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Boston.
Rana Shakeel Asghar, who writes under the nom de plume Shakeel Jazib, is a poet who presently lives in Islamabad. Known for compering Literature and Poetry events and programmes on Pakistan Television (PTV), he is a member of the Civil Service of Pakistan (Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service). Hailing from Chiniot, Punjab, he holds an MBBS degree and a Master’s in Urdu Literature. His poems have appeared in various literary magazines in Pakistan and India, including Sher o Hikmat, Biyaz, Adbiyat, Dabistan, and Nazool. He has also published two books, viz. Har Naqsh Adhoora Hey and Jab Sans Mein Girhein Parhti Hein. He is the recipient of a number of literary awards.
Sidratul Muntaha Jillani
Sidratul Muntaha Jillani started her career as a writer of popular fiction in 2004. Her works have been published in many magazines and digests including Khawateen Digest. She is the author of Mohabbat ki Shaam (2013); Preet Nagar Ka Shahzada (2015); Ek Jahan aur Hai (2017); and Shareek-e-Hayat (2018). In 2019, she translated a famous Sindhi book by Tariq Aalam Abro titled, Rehji Wayal Manzar, from Sindhi into Urdu. Currently, she is translating several famous Sindhi short stories into Urdu.
Sonia Irum is a Lecturer, Department of English, Women Campus, International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI). Her PhD—from the Royal Holloway, University of London—is a thorough study of renowned novelist Uzma Aslam Khan’s works. She is also a member of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) (French: Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée—AILC); Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI); and American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). She also writes blogs and articles in Pakistani newspapers on social issues and literary works.
Taha Kehar is a journalist, literary critic and novelist. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of two novels, Typically Tanya (HarperCollins India, 2018) and Of Rift and Rivalry (Palimpsest Publishers, 2014). He has served as the head of The Express Tribune’s Peshawar city pages and bi-monthly books page, and worked as an assistant editor on the op-ed desk at The News. Kehar’s essays, reviews and commentaries have been published in The News on Sunday, Hindustan Times Brunch, Herald, The Hindu and South Asia magazine and his short fiction has appeared in the Delhi-based quarterly The Equator Line. Two of his short stories will appear in a forthcoming anthology titled The Banyan and Her Roots, which has been edited by the British writer Jad Adams. In 2016, he guest-edited an issue of The Equator Line, titled ‘Pakistan: After The Stereotypes’, that focused on new writing from Pakistan. Kehar is the co-editor of The Stained-Glass Window (Liberty Publishing, 2020), a collection of short stories on the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan. Based in Karachi, he teaches undergraduate media courses and has just completed a novel.
Tahira Naqvi is a Pakistani scholar, translator, and author based in the United States. She was born and raised in Lahore later she moved to the United States. She began her career as translator and translated the books of Ismat Chughtai in English. Her translation includes Chughtai’s work such as Tehri Lakeer (The Crooked Line), Ajeeb Aadmi (A Very Strange Man) and also the work of Khadija Mastoor. Additionally, Tahira has also written short stories Attar of Roses, Other Stories of Pakistan and Dying in a Strange Country. She has also served as a teacher at Columbia University and is Senior Urdu Lecturer at New York University.
A TV show host, filmmaker, and producer. He has received several awards over the course of his career, including best FM host, best TV host, and Tamgha-e-Eisaar (2006), a high-profile civil award.
In 1996, Taymur Mirza established the first continuum IB World School in Karachi, Pakistan. Whilst still involved with the school, he has been provided numerous opportunities by the affiliate International Baccalaureate Organization in the capacity of education program evaluator, presenter, subject guide writer, subject examiner, workshop leader, and school inspection lead.
In 2010, he founded the Trust for Advancement of Knowledge and Education (TAKE) and collaborated with Institute of Education, University of London for continued professional development of educators in Pakistan.
Tessa Farmer is Assistant Professor in the Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures Department and the Global Studies Program at UVA, where she serves as the Track Director for the Global Studies-Middle East South Asia (GSMS) major. Her current book project, Well-Connected: Everyday Water Practices in Cairo, focuses on water and wastewater in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr Umar Saif is the founder and CEO of SurveyAuto.com. He works as the Chief Digital Officer of the Jang/Geo group and the Chief Investment Officer of Khudi Ventures, an investment fund setup to support mid-stage start-ups in Pakistan. He is also an advisor to the UNDP in Pakistan. Previously, Dr Saif was a cabinet member in Government of Punjab and served as the Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). He was the founding Vice Chancellor of ITU and established it as one of premier technology universities in Pakistan. Dr Saif founded Plan9, Pakistan’s first government-backed start-up incubator, as well as Punjab’s e-rozgaar program. He is often cited as one of the main forces behind Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem. He was the first Pakistani to be named as one of the top 35 young innovators in the world by the MIT Technology Review (TR35) and the first Pakistani to receive a Google faculty research award in 2011. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010. He has received the MIT Technovator Award, Mark Weiser Award, IDG Technology Pioneer Award and the British Council Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr Saif was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2014, one of the highest civil awards by Government of Pakistan. He was named among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world consecutively between 2015–2020. In 2018, he was awarded the UNESCO Chair for using ICT for Development. Dr Saif has founded several technology companies and serves on the board of various private, public and financial institutions.
Urvashi Butalia is co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, and now runs Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. She is an independent researcher and writer, concerned mostly with issues relating to gender. Among her best-known publications is the award-winning history of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (1998), which has been translated into more than ten languages. Recently, she edited a collection of essays on Partition entitled Partition: The Long Shadow (2015) and has also written on Kashmir. In 2011, she was awarded the Padma Shri, jointly with Ritu Menon, for her work in the field of women’s publishing and writing.
Usman T. Malik
Usman T. Malik is a Pakistani-American writer and doctor. His fiction has been reprinted in several year’s best anthologies including the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy series and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the Million Writers Award, and twice for the Nebula. He has won the Bram Stoker and the British Fantasy awards. He has been a writer-speaker at Florida State University, Anglia Ruskin (UK), University of Minnesota, and the Seattle based Clarion West Writers Workshop. He is a co-founder of the Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction. Usman’s debut collection Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan has garnered praise from writers such as Aamer Hussein, Brian Evenson, Joe Hill, and Man Booker finalist Karen Joy Fowler. The book will be published in early 2021.
Uzma Aslam Khan
Uzma Aslam Khan is an award-winning author of five novels that includes Trespassing, nominated for a 2003 Commonwealth Prize; The Geometry of God, a Kirkus Review’s Best Book of 2009, and winner of the Bronze award at the Independent Book Publishers Awards; Thinner Than Skin, longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and winner of the inaugural French Embassy Prize for Best Fiction at the KLF 2014. Uzma Khan’s fifth novel, The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali, won the 9th UBL Literary Awards 2020 in the Best English Fiction category, and has been shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live Best Book of the Year Award for Fiction 2019, and the Getz-Pharma Fiction Prize 2020. Uzma’s work has appeared in Granta, The Massachusetts Review, Guardian, Nimrod International Journal, Calyx, Counterpunch, Dawn, and Herald.
Waqas Khwaja is the Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, USA. He obtained his PhD in English from Emory University and a law degree (LL.B.) from the Punjab University Law College, Lahore. A recipient of the International Writing Program fellowship from the University of Iowa, he has published four collections of poetry, a literary travelogue, and three edited anthologies of Pakistani literature. Khwaja was the translation editor and contributor for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, a joint project of the National Endowment of the Arts and the Pakistan Academy of Letters, which showcases the work of forty-four poets from seven of Pakistan’s native languages in English translation. He has guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, and another on Pakistani poetry for Atlanta Review. Khwaja teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, Narratives of Empire, Gothic literature, Victorian poetry and fiction, Literature and Leadership, and Creative Writing. A regular contributor to The Frontier Post, The Pakistan Economic Review, The Pakistan Times, News International, The Nation, and The Friday Times between 1983 and 1992, Khwaja was a practicing lawyer and visiting professor of law in Pakistan before migrating to the US in 1994. He regularly organizes poetry readings for social and political causes and arranges open public readings annually at Agnes Scott College as part of the international ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change’ project.
Founder Director of the Gurmani Centre for South Asian Languages and Literature, Social Sciences Department, LUMS; she worked at LUMS from 2007 to August 2016. Yasmeen Hameed has authored five books of poetry in Urdu. Her book, Pakistani Urdu Verse (2010), was awarded the UBL/Jang Literary Excellence Award in 2012. She has compiled and edited Daybreak: Writings on Faiz (2013); and Nayā Urdu Afsānā. Her poems have been published in translation in Granta, 112 Pakistan, and the anthology Modern Poetry of Pakistan. She was guest editor of Pakistani Literature (English), published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad and has edited seven volumes of the journal, including two volumes of a special issue on women writers from Pakistan. Yasmeen Hameed was awarded the Tamgha-e Imtiaz (2008) for Literature by the Government of Pakistan.
Zara Mumtaz, an experienced teacher and author of primary level school books. She has been associated with the field of education since 1965 and as the Director, Extra-Curricular Activities, Beaconhouse, spread the culture of performing arts to all its campuses. Zara Mumtaz has been collecting and writing folk, traditional, and original songs for children for over forty years. The Oxford University Press has published one such collection with accompanying audio-cassette/CD under the name Nanhi Nazmein Kheil Aur Geet, currently in its 16th edition. Another collection of folk-tales in the oral tradition of the subcontinent was launched at the inaugural Children’s Literature Festival in 2011 entitled Anna Bua Ki Kahanian. As a playwright and director, Zara has produced more than two dozen scripts for stage and television based on various themes such as the environment (for WWF), the girl-child (for Sanjan Nagar), health education (for the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre), speech-impaired children (for Gung Mahal), and folk-lore, with casts of up to 100 children at a time. She also produced and directed the Golden Jubilee play at the The Alhamra Children’s Library Complex in 1997; choreographed an item representing Pakistan at the International Children’s Festival in Ankara, Turkey in 1995; and is the author of an award-winning television serial, Peeli Kothi. Her book Alif Say Yay Tak: Nannhay Geet Aur Nazmein has won the 9th UBL Literary Award 2020 in the category of Children’s Literature in Urdu.
Born in 1937, Zehra Nigah is one of the foremost Urdu poets of Pakistan. She was one of two female poets to gain prominence in the 1950s when the scene was dominated by men. Coming from a well-known literary and intellectual family of Hyderabad Deccan, she counts Anwar Maqsood and Fatima Suraiya Bajia among her siblings. She has three collections of poetry to her credit and recently an omnibus of her works has been published in Lahore. She has received various awards at home and abroad including President’s Pride of Performance in recognition of her literary works. She is also a scriptwriter of popular television serials and films.