Author Bio

Zohra Saed’s poetry and essays have been published in numerous anthologies and journals. Some publications include This Day: Diaries of American Women Ed. Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B.K. Rakhra; Chosen Shore: Stories of Immigrants (Life History) Ellen Alexander Conley (U. California Press); Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out Ed. Fawzia Afzal Khan (Olive Branch Press); Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality Ed. Sarah Hussein (Seal Press); Gallerie International Journal: Afghanistan Ed. Bina Sarkar (India);  Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings (Penguin India Books). She has performed as part of the cast of the legendary theater director Ping Chong’s Undesirable Elements where the ensemble cast performed at the first National Asian American Theater Festival. The full script was published in New York Theater Review Ed. Brook Stowe.

Zohra Saed is a Brooklyn based writer. She is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press), editor of Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos, and Notebooks from Turkestan (Lost & Found, The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative); and Woman. Hand/Pen. (Belladonna Chaplet). Her essays on the Central Asian diaspora have appeared in Eating Asian America (NYU Press) and The Asian American Literary Review. She co-founded UpSet Press, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit indie press, with poet Robert Booras. Zohra is a Distinguished Lecturer at Macaulay Honors College, The City University of New York.

Audio recording of Binding the Woman to her Navel [thanks to Asia Pacific Forum which was then on WBAI Radio NYC] : Listen HERE

Recent Literary Successes:

2019 “Sister of my spine” and “Just like Jalalabad” Tinderbox Poetry Journal (Forthcoming Fall 2019)

2019 10 Questions for Zohra Saed by Emily Wojcik in The Massachusetts Review

Jalal Abad, once Adinapour,
is the mythic city of shine—
the whim of a Mughal King, Jalaludin Akbar,
known for his fondness for citrus and fountains.
—from “Jalalabad Will Never Be JBAD,” from Volume 59, Issue 4 (Winter 2018)

2018 Selected, Cave Canem Workshop with LaTasha N. Diggs “Procedures, Discomforts, and Retellings.”

2018, Selected, “To Carry within Us an Orchard, to Eat!” Winter Tangerine/Kundiman Food Writing Workshop.

2018, Finalist, Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, Split this Rock for: “Jalalabad will Never be Jbad.”

2018, Honorable Mention, Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest for “Aquanet Days.”

Dissertation Awards/Fellowships:

2016-2017, The Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC, CUNY Graduate Center) Dissertation Fellowship.

2014-2015 IRADAC/Schomburg Digitization Fellow.

2010-2015 Communications Fellow, Bernard L. Schwartz Communications Institute at Baruch College.

Some essays that I have PDF copies of:

Gazelle Samizay: Claustrophobic Spaces, the Art of Tucking Away, and Radical Self-Making


    1. Bukhari/Turkistani

      Dear Ms Saed,

      It was recommended by Dr Michael Erdman that I contact you. I am a PhD student whose topic is about the languages of a Turkistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia (called Bukharis or Turkistanis).

      In case you are interested please contact me through my email

  1. jason haye


    A moment that can happen at any time.
    when everything falls into place,
    clarity is at it’s clearest,
    Confusion transforms in to oneness
    and when fate…
    Welcomes you with open arms.

  2. Amina

    Dear Zohra Saed,

    I just was looking for a photo of dungan mosque in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan for my presentation to german friends, when i opened your site. I liked your photos, esp. mosques in CA. And I felt personally very nice, thanks (rahmat) for positive emotions, dear!
    Best of luck,

    1. zohrasaed

      Thank you for the sweet note! Those mosques are so fascinating! Are the Dungan mosques the same in Kyrgyzstan? Rahmat for dropping to say hello!
      Warmest wishes,

  3. Yousuf Faroqi

    I am so glad to have found out about such a talent in our Afghan community. My English teacher once said, “if you were to tear apart an afghan man, then he would bleed poetry.” I feel that our new generation has lost interest in writing or hearing poetry and i say this because i sometimes write poetry as well and there is hardly anyone from the teens to really support me and encourage me to write further. I wish to sent you one of my pieces if at all possible.

    best Regards

  4. Jessye

    Hi Zohra,

    Your blog and your work is very inspiring, thanks for putting it out there! I wanted to let you know about this open call for creative responses to the question “where would you rebuild the Twin Towers and Why?” It is a non-partisan call, and I’d very much like to include your perspective. You can see more about it here: http://www.twintowersgoglobal.org/wtc/


  5. afifayusufi

    Hi Zohra! I have been working on my blog since last night and decided to come and pay you a virtual visit. Miss you and thinking of you. I hope you are feeling better from the sting :(. Wishing you continued success and Eid Mubarak in advance! Besos ~~~ Afifa xo

  6. Calista

    Do any readers speak Balochi, Dari, Pashto, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic, Mandarin, Swahili, Somali, Igbo, Hausa, or Turkish? If so, the US government offers a great opportunity.

    English for Heritage Language Speakers is government scholarship, like the Fulbright or the Boren, but specifically for Americans whose native language is not English.
    The goal is to help advanced English learners become fluent enough to work for the U.S. Government. The scholarship pays for a year of English courses at Georgetown University (complete with a stipend, laptop and health insurance) and helps you find a government job afterward. Working for the government provides not only a secure job in a tough economy, but also a fulfilling, exciting way to contribute to society. You can find more information at http://ehls.georgetown.edu/ or http://www.cal.org/ehls/, or just Google “English for Heritage Language Speakers.”

    If this looks like something your readers might be interested in, I encourage you to pass the information along! All the best!


    Center for Applied Linguistics

  7. Amy Edison

    Hi Zohra! I noticed that you are attending a 10th Anniversary of the Afghanistan Invasion tomorrow, and wanted to share with you another form of multimedia that we here at Community Supported Film have been working on in Boston.

    CSFilm is doing an online broadcast of ten short documentary films made by Afghan women and men during a filmmaking training in Kabul last fall. The films will be available in full to the public for only a few more days – until the anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan on Friday, October 7th. The films can be watched at http://www.csfilm.org/films.

    We are hoping to have “The Fruit of Our Labor” films seen as widely as possible, and are seeking individuals and organizations that are interested in linking to these films on their sites, writing or blogging about them, or hosting a screening of the films. Would you be willing to check out some of the films and put them to use?

    All the best,


  8. Anya Bratberg

    Hello Zohra.

    My name is Anya Bratberg and I work for the Norwegian Refugee Council. I am trying to find your contact information to send you a letter of invitation to be part of an anthology. Could you possibly send me an email so I can send you a description of the project?

    Kind Regards – Anya Bratberg

  9. laurie pea

    Dear Zohra,

    I am currently working on a project that I thought might be of interest to you.

    I’m writing on behalf of playwright Riti Sachdeva and producer MTWorks as they move forward with the world premiere of PARTS OF PARTS & STITCHES, a compelling and provocative telling of the stories of the 1947 partition of British India into the nations of India and Pakistan.

    PARTS OF PARTS & STITCHES uses overlapping truths, histories, and the fantastic to create a space for audiences to explore and reflect upon individual and collective resilience and resistance in the face of partition. Awarded the 2009 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Quest for Peace award and the 2011 Excellence in Playwriting award at the National Newborn Festival (NYC) and with an outstanding cast and creative team, PARTS OF PARTS & STITCHES is directed by Cat Parker and will run from March 15-31, 2012 at The Theater at 14th Street Y (Union Square).

    The play creates a space for audiences to participate in making connections between the Partition and seemingly disparate geo-political contexts where populations have been violently divided. The project has particular resonance for those of the South Asian diaspora, but many of our communities have been partitioned and continue to be partitioned. In most instances, significant efforts have been made to erase the memories of partition traumas in the larger interests of nation-building. The play gives us an opportunity to challenge the forgetting while creating spaces for a deeper understanding of our historical and contemporary struggles.

    We have several events being held in conjunction with the play that might be of interest.
    Please contact me directly or go to http://www.mtworks.org/up-next for more information.

    Thank you,


  10. laurie pea

    Hi Zohra, my apologies for not seeing that you had replied to me–the email notification was caught in my spam folder.

    While I know that Afghanistan was not part of the Partition, as a result of the Partition many Sikh people left Punjab to go to Afghanistan rather than cross the newly created Pakistan/India border in 1947 and onwards, and in that way I understand how our histories are intertwined.

    I enjoy reading your blog & your work, particularly your insistence on the centering the experience of women in the telling and retelling of stories, particularly Muslim women; on bringing political understandings and analysis to action through the art of writing; on exploring the legacies of generational trauma as an opportunity for healing; and on working cross-culturally across the Asian and Asian American diaspora (including Central, South, South East, and North Asian diasporic communities). It is for these reason that I thought to let you know about Riti Sachdeva’s work. Thank you for spreading the word about the play as we head into this final week of shows.



  11. laurie pea

    Hi Zohra, We closed last night! Thanks you for your efforts to spread the word–we’ve had a great audience thanks to all the good people of NYC who believe in the power of art. Next time I attend one of your events, I will make a point to introduce myself. all best, lauriepea.

  12. Amelia

    Hi Zohra

    I wondered if I could speak with you. We’re looking for an Afghan man between 60-80 for a very respectful part in an upcoming Ben Stiller movie and we are trying to speak to Afghan artists as a way to access the community here in NY. Would you be willing to chat?

    My number is 212.627.1662 x418

    Thank you!

  13. Robin Linn

    Dear Zohra, I just read and very much enjoyed your poem, “Kandahar,” in a Split This Rock email. Googling your name brought me to your blog, which I am looking forward to checking out (and as well as the anthology, Seven Leaves, One Autumn). Thanks for your fresh images (i.e., “a cube of sugar/refusing to dissolve” and “causing to earth giggle and birth him a wife). Do you have readings coming up in the near future? Nice to meet you in poetry, Robin

      1. Robin Linn

        You’re welcome, Zohra. Gmail me at poemmeister and I’ll be happy to send you something. Is there anywhere in the states I can order the anthology, by the way? Thanks, Robin

  14. policystudiesorganization

    My name is Devin. I just read your post from 2009 about the book “Adventures in Afghanistan for Boys.” I manage Westphalia Press, a small academic publishing imprint of the Policy Studies Organization in DC. We are planning to reprint this book. It’s an excellent and awful read, but in our copy, the second to last page is ripped out! I’m wondering (one publisher to another) if you could help me out with a scan of the last few pages…
    Let me know if you would be interested.

      1. policystudiesorganization

        Now that I’m thinking about it, might you be interested in writing a preface? We like to provide some modern context to these older books with a new preface, and you would be an outstanding choice for this book. No pressure. Check out the press, see what you think, and either way get back to me at dproctor@ipsonet.org, so we can talk through ‘back channels.’

  15. Zafar Mehdi

    Salam Zohra jaan

    Really fascinated by your work. Tremendous job.

    I am an Indian journalist currently reporting from Afghanistan as editor of a newly launched news magazine Afghan Zariza. It would be absolutely wonderful if we have do a little interview about your work, influence of Afghan life and culture in your body of work and other things. My email is: zafar@afghanzariza.com Could you please share yours?

    Zafar Mehdi

  16. Nina k

    Hello- we met at your recent reading at Dumbosky- great to see another artist at work and call on me for future projects- it was a great inspiration to see your involvement–cheers-Visual artist -nina k

  17. Nizar Sartawi

    Dear Zohra
    I am a Jordanian poet and translator. Last week i received a copy of “Seven Leaves, One Autumn” from my friend Ute Margaret Saine. I’d to translate some of your lovely poems into Arabic. What do you think?

  18. M

    Hello Ms. Saed,
    I hope you’re well! Is there a way to contact you directly via email? I’ve looked around and couldn’t find anything unfortunately. Thank you for your time!

  19. Jo-Ann Gross

    Hi Zohra,
    It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch. I sent you an email inviting you to give a poetry reading at TCNJ but never heard back. What’s your email these days? Perhaps I have the wrong one? It would be great to reconnect.

  20. Philip Effiong

    I’m very impressed with your biography and amazing writing talent. We will soon be studying one of your short stories (“A Week Later”) in my Literature & Society class at Michigan State University.

      1. Behzad nikzad

        Hi Zohra,

        I am an Afghan Canadian and I have written a novella. I don’t know where to go from here, but would love to get your take on it.

        I suppose you will have access to my email. I hope to hear from you.

      2. Zohra

        Hi Behzad jan, congrats on finishing your novella! It is an entirely different genre than poetry so I would recommend starting with reaching out to agents. In poetry you can write directly to publishers. With novels, an agent works better. But I don’t have one myself so I don’t really know the process. You can also write directly to university presses to see if they are interested. The best are also contests that publish first books. I don’t see your email here otherwise I would have written directly. When I click it doesn’t show me how to reach you. So I hope you see this!

  21. Karishma Vyas

    Hi Zohra,

    Hope you’re well. My name is Karishma Vyas and i’m a freelance journalist. I’m based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

    I’m sorry to bother you with this weird request but I just returned from Kabul after filming a story about the work of the staff at the Red Cross’ orthopaedic and rehabilitations center. I need help translating a few scenes from Dari to English, and wondered if you knew anyone this Saturday and Sunday who would be available. I have a budget of USD150 per day and we’d be translating at my apartment.

    Would greatly appreciate any leads you may have. Thanks!

    1. Zohra

      Hi Karishma, I know a staten island based translator. I don’t know what her rates are but she works in the courts and with independent contractors. I can ask her. I am not sure if you are already done with this project.

  22. Wesley Spencer

    Dear Dr., Saed,
    I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to introduce a new initiative at the Aspen Institute called Women Forward International. Our mission is to advance women to advance humanity.

    We would like to invite you to participate in our launch event, Rising from the Ashes in September in Washington DC. We are co-hosting with the United Nations and will be welcoming several esteemed guest speakers.

    The theme of the launch is The Power of Art to Advance Women to Advance Humanity. This evening of enlightenment will feature a line-up of special guest speakers as well as a convening of art, music, and prose. We hope you will consider agreeing to be one of our guest poets for the evening. We feel your poetry would be an inspiring addition to our program.

    If you are interested in participating, please email me at wespen09@gmail.com. I will be happy to send you more information about Women Forward International, its mission and the launch event.

    I greatly appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you soon.

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