This year, I had the luxury of focusing on my craft as a writer. Here are some of the brilliant writers I had the good fortune of taking fiction classes with:

Lara Elena Donnelly “Taking on Tropes in Science Fiction & Fantasy” [Catapult, Summer 2019]

Delaney Nolan “Fiction Workshop: Beginnings and Endings” [Catapult, Fall 2019]

Jamil Jan Kochai “Building a Short Story Piece by Piece” [Catapult Fall 2019]

Bonnie Nadzam “Jump Start your Novel: 12 Weeks to a First Draft” [Center for Fiction, Fall 2019]

Jennifer Baker “Pitch-Draft-Revise Workshop” [Fall 2019]

I learned so much from these classes and I highly recommend them to anyone new to fiction and in need of a community.

Jenn Baker’s class was the most empowering workshop I have ever taken! It was filled with brave and talented women. I am transformed especially by this class.

It was an honor to work with the talented Jamil Jan Kochai, whose debut novel is on my syllabus now. His kindness and honesty were essential to new fiction writers like me. Also, his understanding of the cultural context of my little jinn story was priceless!

Lara’s energy is what propelled me into this world of fiction writing. I learned an entirely new language in her class and met wonderful, talented writers who worked with magic and science fiction in such breathtaking ways.

Delaney’s class was inspiring and brilliant. Her take on the structure of the story was especially transformative. And I felt bolder in taking new steps in my writing.

Bonnie’s class was a gentle unfolding of unknown and untapped realms of my internal world. Her guidance excavated new paths to the stories that were half forming on paper. It was a thrilling journey taking her first draft building workshop. Also here, I found incredibly generous and supportive new writer friends. I do have a draft. Now to string together the ligaments to keep the pieces together for a cleaner draft!

Even though my adventures teaching at Bard High School Early College in Queens has kept me from publishing as regularly as I used to — I did get lucky from time to time in finding homes for my poems and academic writing in some amazing journals and anthologies.

2019 publications and panels:

Panel discussion: “Feminism in the South Asian Diaspora Community” conversation led by artist and curator Jaishri Abichandani with panelists Robina Niaz, Aleyamma Mathew, Dr. Zohra Saed, Yalini Dream, and Swati Khurana as they discuss how feminist organizing in the South Asian diaspora has changed over the last 20 years. [In conjunction with The Portrait is Political featuring portraits of South Asian feminists “Jasmine’s Bloom at Night” (Portrait by Jaishri Abichandani set as the featured image) at BRIC House, Brooklyn. April-May 12, 2019]

Finalist, Poet’s House Emerging Poet Fellowship. Poet’s House. NYC.

“Jalalabad will never be Jbad,” The Massachusetts Review Vol. 59, Issue 4.

“Just like Jalalabad,” and “Sister of my spine, wearing war behind one ear,” Tinderbox Journal of Poetry. Vol. 6 Issue 1.

“Telling Muslim Stories” featuring Ladan Osman, Chimene Suleyman, Sriyanka Ray, and Zohra Saed. PEN America and Brooklyn Historical Society. Oct. 3, 2019, Brooklyn.

“Kandahar” and “Kabul” from my series of poems Secret Lives of Misspelled Cities translated into Kurdish by Malperi Emrro Here

2020 publications and panels:

“Aqua Net Days” [prose-poem] New Moons anthology of Muslim American Writings. Red Hen Press, 2020

“Heart Heat,” Ishq, and Eros in the Collaborative Artwork of Gazelle Samizay, Laimah Osman, and Sahar Muradi. Hyphenations: Essays on Muslim Writers, Artists, and Performers in America, edited by Mahwash Shoaib. Syracuse University Press, 2020 [peer-reviewed]

“Shape-shifting Bodies: Somatic Rituals towards Art for Gender Justice Workshop” with Purvi Shah, Sun Yung Shin, Ama Codjoe, Christina Olivares, and Zohra Saed. Split this Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness 2020 (March, Washington DC)

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