Category Archives: Uncategorized

Winner of PANDA’s Writing Competition!

‘Congratulations! You have been picked by our judges as a winner of PANDA’s writing competition!’, was a great opening line to an email I received today. 

Apparently there were many strong entries and the judges felt that my piece, ‘Self’, had the most potential and showed creative excellence alongside ‘Chelsea’ by Paul Holliday and ‘Mother, Daughter, Stranger’  by Rose van Leyenhorst which I am looking forward to reading. 

So, what’s next? PANDA’s first book will be published in October and we writers will be published alongside each other, in a book of wisdom about the arts, created by PANDA and its members. I feel very happy I must say! 
So please watch this space – onwards & upwards! 🙂 

TAHA – An Amer Hlehel, Young Vic and Shubbak Festival co-production – The Lowry, 1/7/17 

Tonight I went to see the extremely moving lyrical story of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammed Ali at The Lowry,  written & superbly performed by actor and director Amer Hlehel. 

Directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi – author of ‘I am Yousuf & This is My Brother’ who some of you may recognise as the very first Palestinian author we explored for our ‘Platform For Palestinian Arts’ project last year, the play tells the story of Taha’s expulsion from his home in Galilee and the subsequent reality of war his family faces. 

Themes of love, loss, trauma and survival were explored as in many narratives of displacememt but it was Amer Hlehel’s ability to take the audience through what I can only describe as a visceral experience that truly brought this writing to life. 

I thoroughly recommend catching this in London, one of the highlights of which was hearing the recital of Taha Muhammed Ali’s beautiful poem at the end of the play called ‘Revenge’. 


Revenge

At times … I wish 

I could meet in a duel 

the man who killed my father 

and razed our home, 

expelling me 

into 

a narrow country. 

And if he killed me, 

I’d rest at last, 

and if I were ready— 

I would take my revenge! 
But if it came to light, 

when my rival appeared, 

that he had a mother 

waiting for him, 

or a father who’d put 

his right hand over 

the heart’s place in his chest 

whenever his son was late 

even by just a quarter-hour 

for a meeting they’d set— 

then I would not kill him, 

even if I could. 
Likewise … I 

would not murder him 

if it were soon made clear 

that he had a brother or sisters 

who loved him and constantly longed to see him. 

Or if he had a wife to greet him 

and children who 

couldn’t bear his absence 

and whom his gifts would thrill. 

Or if he had 

friends or companions, 

neighbours he knew 

or allies from prison 

or a hospital room, 

or classmates from his school … 

asking about him 

and sending him regards. 
But if he turned 

out to be on his own— 

cut off like a branch from a tree— 

without a mother or father, 

with neither a brother nor sister, 

wifeless, without a child, 

and without kin or neighbours or friends, 

colleagues or companions, 

then I’d add not a thing to his pain 

within that aloneness— 

not the torment of death, 

and not the sorrow of passing away. 

Instead I’d be content 

to ignore him when I passed him by 

on the street—as I 

convinced myself 

that paying him no attention 

in itself was a kind of revenge.
by Taha Muhammad Ali

10 Ways To Do Some #creativecoping 

‪Here’s a little something I wrote to help creatively cope when you need something to get through the day(s). Tried and tested, I found them to be useful over the years and would love to hear how they were for you or if you have any other ideas you want to share! 

If you are concerned about your mental well being, do get in touch with Inspirited Minds, a mental heath charity that has supported many people needing someone to talk to. Being an Inspirited Minds support worker, I have seen first hand the care and committment they offer to those in need or concerned others. 

I hope you find the article useful and do let me know how you creatively cope! X

http://inspiritedminds.org.uk/2017/05/16/10-ways-to-do-some-creativecoping/ 

Manchester International Festival & a Jerwood Fellowship 2017! 

So earlier this year I, along with nearly 100 different artists in Manchester applied for a Jerwood Fellowship with Manchester International Festival 2017 and can happily say that I got it!! 

You can read all about it on the link below! And I do feel a huge sense of achievement! I’m excited that I am working with award-winning company Theatre-Rites, which is a field leader in the creation of experimental theatre for children.

Acclaimed nationally and internationally, their touring productions and site responsive works stir the imagination and stimulate thought. They specifically promote understanding and enjoyment of ‘object-led’ theatre, celebrating the power of visuals, puppetry and animation by working in genuine collaboration with designers, visual artists, film-makers, puppeteers, musicians, composers, actors and dancers. 
Co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Theatre-Rites, Z-Arts and the Ruhrtriennale Festival, the premiere of the site-specific production THE WELCOMING PARTY for the 2017 Manchester International Festival will be exploring how we welcome new arrivals and the  stories they have to tell. But that’s another blog post! Read about my fellowship and the amazing cohort on this link below! X
http://mif.co.uk/six-of-the-best/

Commonword Writer Of The Month – May 2017

So for someone who likes to talk and perform poetry, I have realised that talking about myself is sometimes a huge issue dependant on how I’m feeling that day! Performative speech is fine but tell me to talk about feelings and jeez, I start to run a mile in my head. I’m learning that there is real beauty in being honest about our vulnerabilities and that in some way, shape or form, we all have them! 

Luckily, I had lots to say in the interview below with Commonword – a collective that provides great support to BAME and/or queer writers. I remember tentatively stepping into their offices a few years ago, having just finished an undergrad degree in English & Criminology and devoting a decade to raising kids. Trust me, I was worried this mind was rusty and that studying had killed my creativity. Pensive, reluctant to share my work, crippled by very little confidence and self-belief, I shared a poem called ‘Patience’ and then cried at the response. The journey ever since has been amazing. 

With an anthology launch last Friday ( see previous blog post ),  a Jerwood Fellows Scholarship through Manchester International Festival, a commision with The Royal Exchange, co-forming a collective called Outside The Frame Arts which will explore hidden voices some juicy projects, I’m feeling excited. Terrified but excited. I am learning that stepping into the unknown is how we truly grow. And I hope  you continue to join me along the way! X

http://www.cultureword.org.uk/writer-of-the-month-hafsah-aneela-bashir/

Launch Night for WITS women – Sounds That Exceed 80 Decibels! 5/4/2017

Our WITS anthology launch on Friday night at The Three Minute Theatre was an amazing evening to say the least. 

Featuring poetry and monologues by the inspiring #WomenInTheSpotlight  – Col Bashir, Heena Colada, Yolanda Mercy, Sui Anukka, Naomi Sumner, Shahireh Sangrezeh, Maeve Clarke, Bethany Hermitt, Deborah Chatterjee, Dipali Das, Christina Fonthes, Charlotte Maxwell, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi and I, the audience were led through an amalgamation of womanhood experiences. 

Often writing can be an isolated task with us only spending time with the voices in our head. So sharing our creativity together has been heart-warming and inspiring. I am loving this feeling of sistership right now  and the journey we have taken together from creating plays to an Arvon residential to this incredible anthology. I am honoured to be in this with them ❤!