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Manahil Bandukwala is a writer, visual artist, and editor who works for Arc Poetry Magazine and Canthius. Her project, Reth aur Reghistan, is a multidisciplinary exploration of folklore from Pakistan interpreted through poetry and sculpture. Bandukwala’s debut poetry collection, MONUMENT, is a conversation with Mughal Empress Mumtaz Mahal that interrogates concepts of love, monumentalism, and empire. In 2021, she was shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award. Originally from Pakistan, she now lives on the unceded territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River (Mississauga).

Program History

2023 Rising Star

Rising Stars

Selected by

Shani Mootoo


“In her poetry Manahil Bandukwala gives us what we perennially yearn for, but always anew, in literature: the exposition and understanding of the human heart. With enviable assuredness through pinpoint lyricism, powerful imagery and symbolism, and visual artwork, Bandukwala speaks to us breathtakingly and knowledgeably of the messiness of a variety of empiricisms that affect us today. Thoughtful and arresting, her poetic explorations of desire — the kinds that are all about love and all about power — illuminate how this multi-faceted intention has created and destroyed individuals and nations. ‘Page-turning’ and ‘storytelling’ are not words usually associated with works of poetry, and yet they are apt descriptors of Bandukwala’s impressive offerings to date.”