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Zehra
Naqvi

Zehra Naqvi is a writer, editor, and educator whose poem "forgetting urdu" won ROOM Magazine's 2016 poetry contest. Naqvi’s work has also appeared in Tin House,The New Quarterly, Jaggery, and Routed Magazine and is forthcoming in Living Hyphen. Zehra holds two MSc degrees in migration studies and social anthropology from Oxford University, where she recently studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Naqvi was born in Karachi, raised on unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver), and is currently located in the United Kingdom, where she is teaching and working on her first book.

Award History

2021 Finalist

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
for The Knot of My Tongue

Jury Citation

“Just as the revered Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz commanded us to speak in his seminal piece ‘Bol,’ so too does Zehra Naqvi’s ‘The Knot of My Tongue’ compel us to unpack the complexities of that seemingly simple act. In a voice that is equal parts theologian, autobiographer, and linguist, Naqvi calls us to consider the possibilities and impossibilities, the power and failures of the written word. These heartfelt poems play with form and structure as they weave their way through Quranic tradition, the conspiratorial silence of community and family, and the poet’s inner world towards a beauty that speaks beyond the limitations of language."
— 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award poetry jury (Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney)

Works recognized by WT