Qudsia Akhtar

Poet, PhD Student

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A Manchester-based poet...

Qudsia is in the second year of her Creative Writing PhD at the University of Salford exploring the complexities surrounding British-Pakistani experience. Her poems have appeared in the Acumen, Tower Poetry Anthology, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, and The Ofi Press.

Her work has been commissioned by the New Creatives Scheme. Qudsia's debut collection of poems Khamoshi is out with Verve Poetry Press. To put it quite simply, “Qudsia is my name and poetry is my game”.


Qudsia Akhtar's thrilling debut collection Khamoshi (Silence) traces the complexity of living as a British-Pakistani writer with great courage, integrity, and insight. Akhtar's vision takes in the broader historical perspectives of the trauma of partition and the experiences of racism and sexism while focusing on the embodied tensions of a self that is never fully at ease with itself: 'I hear/ my voice call/ my self/imposter.' In dialogue with Muhammed Iqbal's philosophical poem 'The Secrets of the Self', Akhtar asks unflinchingly 'can I be from here if my roots / lie elsewhere?' 'what does the British-Pakistani want?' 'can Herstory/ be rewritten?', creating a precisely articulated poetry full of vivid images and passionate thinking. If Akhtar does not shy away from the challenges she presents ('the chaos of collective identity'), nevertheless this is an enormously optimistic book in which she wears 'the flag/ of hope' whilst paying homage to 'all/ the voices/in me.' This is an adept and provocative work which firmly establishes Akhtar as an important new voice for her generation.

Scott Thurston

Can one experience diaspora/ in the body?" Qudsia Akhtar's poems are silted with female loss, a kind of silence that builds slowly inside generations of migrant women. Through partition, nationalism, racism, sex and filial duty, these poems ask to whom do we belong if not our selves? A motherland calls to its daughters; an adopted country demands to hear her voice. Akhtar's language is rich and exact, fearing sentiment, turning on its heel towards a path entirely of its own.

Sandeep Parmar