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.

Is Nothing Sacred?

 I was honoured to ask to read at the 2022 Berlin Literary Festival.

The event, curated by Pina Piccolo, took place in a Bologna bookshop, and the theme was  ‘In solidarity with Salman Rushdie’. I chose to read, Is Nothing Sacred? an essay published in Granta, where Rushdie defended the act of writing fiction.

Excerpt from Is Nothing Sacred? a speech by Salman Rushdie, delivered by Harold Pinter at the London Institute of Contemporary Art on 6 February 1990 when the author was still in hiding. The excerpt was read by writer and editor Farah Ahamed as a video reading for a Salman Rushdie writings marathon organized by La Macchina Sognante and The Dreaming Machine, held in Bologna on 29 September 2022, in response to a call issued by the Internationales LiteraturFestival Berlin for worldwide reading in solidarity with the author.

Salman Rushdie event

Period Matters

Period Matters: Menstruation in South Asia

Published by Macmillan

Publication date: 28th June 2022

Website: periodmattersbook.com

A pathbreaking anthology on the diverse experiences of menstruation in South Asia

Period Matters: cover

Menstruation, despite being a healthy and fundamental bodily process, is a topic often buried in fear and shame, and its discussion is even taboo in many societies. But a worldwide effort to bring conversations about menstruation and menstrual health into the open is now firmly underway.

Period Matters carries this important endeavour forward by bringing together a breadth of perspectives from well-known figures as well as those whose voices are missing from the mainstream.

Essays, artwork, stories and poems from policymakers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics, activists, as well as interviews with those at the margins, such as the homeless and those living with disabilities, explore myriad aspects of how menstruation is experienced in South Asia.

A collection of breathtaking scope and significance, Period Matters illustrates with power, purpose and creativity both the variances and commonalities of menstruation.

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.

Visit the website at

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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