Farah Ahamed

I am a writer and editor. My stories explore people’s lives and how they are affected by culture, religion and politics.

My novel, Days Without Sun, is about friendship and survival. It follows the challenges faced by Amanullah, a traditional sweet-maker in a run-down shop in Lahore. It was shortlisted for the 2020 Screen Craft Cinematic Book Award and a finalist for the Primadonna Award 2019.

I have also written two collections of stories, one based in East Africa, the other in Pakistan.

My work has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2022), the Primadonna Festival Writing Award (2019), and the Canadian CBC Books Short Story Award (2018). In addition, I was joint winner of the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and highly commended in the London Short Story Prize. 

My essays and stories have been shortlisted for The White Review Prize, The Creative Future Award, The Thresholds Essay Prize, Screen Craft Prize, SI Leeds Literary Prize, DNA/Out of Print Award, and The Asian Writer Short Story Prize. I have also been nominated for The Pushcart and Caine prizes.

My short fiction and essays have been published in The White Review, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, and other literary journals.

I have a Diploma in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and an MA in Education. I was born in Kenya and have lived in Nairobi, Vancouver, Kampala and Bilbao. I currently live between London and Lahore.

Period Matters

Period Matters: Writing and Art on Menstruation Experiences in South Asia. Publication date: International Menstrual Hygiene Day,  May 28th 2022. 

A comprehensive anthology on the diversity of menstruation in South Asia.

Period Matters: cover

The book presents ways in which menstruation is experienced across different backgrounds. This variety is highlighted by the range of contributions, countries, themes and formats.

Contributors include politicians and policy makers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, students, nuns, activists, and poets. Alongside chapters from the well-known, those who tend to be omitted from mainstream discussion are also represented.

The anthology offers insights from start-ups in India, Bangladesh garment workers, Buddhist nuns in Bhutan, refugees in Sri Lanka, trans people in Pakistan, Nepalese activists, and a view from Afghanistan.

Chapters cover workplace and school challenges, digitization, spaces of isolation, homelessness, disability, dysphoria, incarceration and more.

The genres in the book, comprising essays, personal accounts, stories, poems, art, photographs and interviews, reflect the many stances, subjective and objective, on menstruation in South Asia.

Edited by Farah Ahamed. Contributors include: Rupi Kaur; Anish Kapoor; Lyla Freechild; Sarah Naqvi; Lisa Ray; Tishani Doshi; Ayra Indrias Patras; Granaz Balochi; Meera Tiwari; Shashi Deshpande; Srilekha Chakraborty; Tashi Zangmo; Zinthia Ganeshpanchan; Alnoor Bhimani; Shashi Tharoor; Victoria Patrick; Aakar Innovations; Goonj Foundation; interviews with transwomen, homeless women and the co-founder of Menstrupedia.

Period Poverty

Farah Ahamed

In addition to my work as a writer, I am a human rights lawyer and an advocate for ending period poverty. 

Together with my sisters, I run the campaign Panties with Purpose in Kenya which helps raise awareness about menstrual hygiene. Since 2011, more than 50,000 pairs of underpants have been distributed to 12,000 girls in over 100 locations across Kenya.

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