Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dreams into Words - Rukhsana M. Ahmad - Writer in Residence

In 1988- 89 a the first Asian Writer in Residence in Cleveland - Rukhsana M. Ahmad overseen locally by Cleveland


Although I don't have the full details of Rukhsana's residency I recall it occurred while we were developing what would be the first Write Around with Cleveland Arts. My knowledge of this residency came from Multicultural Arts Officer Neelam Dhamrait who gave us excellent support and encouragement with the establishing the first Write Around fest at that time. Gordon Hodgeon, who was an English Advisor for Cleveland County Education and poet was also involved with this through the Northern Arts Literature Panel etc. 
I think I'm right in saying that Rukhsana was based largely at Abingdon Rd School in Middlesbrough working with the kids and adults. The earliest Asian Mushaira (Urdu poetry symposiums) started with the kids at Abingdon Rd School. This was an element that would develop later through Write Around with adults to which English poets were invited to as well. 

The residency culminated in the production of an 80 page anthology Dreams into Words which we promoted through the flyers in Outlet.

Taken from the flyer for Dreams into Words - 
"Dreams into Words - The Cleveland Writers Project - In this unique publication, Asian men and women living in the

Dreams into words
 Cleveland area of the North East area of England, reflect on their lives and experiences.Published in Urdu and in English , the selection is a product of freelance writers Rukhsana M. Ahmad's residency during 1988 / 89 which was established by the Artists agency (think they mean Cleveland Arts here but not sure). It is the first in a Common Trust series of Multi-cultural publications celebrating the variety of life in the North East. 80 pages perfect bound with colour glossy cover £3.50"

About Rukhsana M. Ahmad

Rukhsana Ahmad was born in Karachi and spent her formative years shuttling between major cities in Pakistan. She studied English Literature, then Linguistics at Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. After settling in Britain she resumed her study of English Literature at Reading University. She has freelanced as a writer since 1985 working across several genres but campaigning consistently for Asian writers specially women in her role as Artistic Director of Kali Theatre Company (1994 to 2002).
She is a founding member of the Asian Women Writers' Collective, and a founding trustee and current chair of SALIDAA (South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive). She was writer-in-residence in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the London Borough of Harrow. She was a Reader for the Theatre Committe of the Arts Council of England, an Adviser to its Translation Panel and a member of its Committee for the Review of Literary Journals. She was also a member of the Theatre Committee of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

From her webpage on the Royal Literary Fund -  http://www.rlf.org.uk/fellowshipscheme/profile.cfm?fellow=5&menu=6

The above link gives details of her publications and wider achievements.

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