afshan d’souza-lodhi was born in Dubai and bred in Manchester. She is a writer of scripts and poetry and was recently commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 (An Act of Terror) and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop).
afshan is currently a Sky Writes writer-in-residence for Rotherham, a partnership between Sky Studios and New Writing North. She is also currently developing a TV series with Sky Studios. afshan has edited many anthologies and has an essay featured in Picador’s collection by Muslim women called Its Not About The Burqa. Her debut poetry collection ‘re:desire’ (Burning Eye Books) has been longlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2021).
Her most recent play, Santi & Naz, described as “tender yet sharply political” by The Guardian, won the Vault Outstanding New Work Award in 2020. As well as her own writing, afshan is keen to develop other younger and emerging artists and sits on the boards of Manchester Literature Festival and Pie Radio and is also a Young Trustee Ambassador for the North West.
afshan also sits on the steering committee for Northern Police Monitoring Project, an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation that challenges police harassment and violence.
Writing Residencies, Schemes and Projects:
Sky Writes residency – Rotherham (New Writing North and Sky Studios) – Jan 2021 – Current
I am the Sky Writes writer in residence for Rotherham. I will be facilitating ‘writing for screen’ workshops for new and emerging writers.
Georgetown Lab fellow in Global Performance and Politics – Feb 2020 – current
I was selected by the Mellon Foundation sponsored and Georgetown University run fellowship programme to be a Lab Fellow in Global Performance and Politics along with 9 other theatre-makers from across the world.
Town Hall Tales – July 2019 – November 2019
Interviewer and Writer for Manchester City Council’s Town Hall Tales
BBC WritersRoom North – October 2017 – November 2018
I was part of BBC writersoom run in Manchester, Northern Voices
Tamasha Playwrights Scheme October 2016 – March 2018
I was selected with 7 other writers to be mentored by Tamasha theatre company to write a new full-length piece.
Eclipse Theatre – Writer in Residence at Royal Exchange Theatre December 2015 – 2017
I was commissioned by Eclipse Theatre and on attachment at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester to write a play about Sophia Duleep Singh, an alternative Suffragette story.
Re:Play Writer and Performer Jan 2015 – June 2017
Part of a group of 5 selected writers/performers throughout the UK chosen by Nimble Fish which aims to help produce one person plays around a social issue. I chose the treatment of Asylum Seekers in detention centres and followed the story of a girl who left her country due to persecution because of her sexuality. This is part of a showcase at Southbank in London in July as part of the International Poetry Festival
Young Enigma – 2012 – present
After seeing a lack of writers that were ‘other’ and ‘different’, Adam Lowe and myself set up Young Enigma. It was founded with initial support from Commonword, with subsequent support from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme, funded by the National Lottery. Members of the group were also LGBT History Month Writers-in-Residence. The programme was supported by LGBT History Month, LGBT Youth North West, Schools OUT, Contact Theatre, Dog Horn Publishing and Talent Media. Recently, Young Enigma performed at Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival.
ToMarket ToMarket June 2011- October 2011
A live literature programme which explored Kirkgate market in Leeds. This project consisted of the writers engaging themselves in the market many months in advance so that they could get a feel of the market. Speaking to members of the public, interviews were conducted and from those interviews and conversations writing and performances were produced. Alongside 3 other writers-in-residence, I went out among the stalls and shoppers to collect stories for our interactive storytelling map. I delved into the history of the market, plundering a wealth of oral testimonies and archive material to develop a promenade performance exploring the project’s theme of movements human, economic and emotional. To Market, To Market was produced by DLS Enterprises and commissioned by iMove for Yorkshire’s Cultural Olympiad. The project was supported through public funding by The Legacy Trust UK and Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme.
Produced Stage and Radio plays:
How to Eat a Mango March/April 2021
How to eat a mango, produced in collaboration with Georgetown University performed at ACLS Philadelphia and the Screening Scholarship Media Festival (SSMF) CAMRA, University of Pennsylvania.
Run(a)way, The Young Vic – February 2021
My short Run(a)way was produced at the Young Vic online for their 5 Plays programme. The short was directed by Gitika Bhutto. Performed by Amina Zia and Ashling O’Shea.
Santi & Naz, The Thelmas, Vault Festival – January 2020
Co-written with Guleraana Mir and Produced by The Thelmas.
Santi & Naz are best friends living in a small village in pre-partition India. Their story spans between 1945 & 1949. When Naz is betrothed to an older man, the threat of separation for the young women looms large on the horizon. As the political situation around partition worsens and violence erupts, they take drastic action. Santi & Naz explores childhood friendship, identity and loyalty set against the backdrop of a country soon to be changed forever.
Chop Chop (radio play) – October 2019
Chop Chop gives us a small insight into the goings-on of an all-female halal butchers just outside the city. A Tyneside Cinema production for New Creatives which is supported by BBC Arts and Arts Council England. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07nmqz6)
Featuring: Sharma Walfall as Mariam; Shobna Gulati as Ameena; Carla Henry as Taz; Murray Taylor as The Inspector; Sushil Chudasama as Customer.
Assembly Women – Theatre In The Mill – March 2018
A devised play based on the Greek play Assembly Women. Directed by Natalie Diddams. The piece was devised from attending the Women’s Comedy Workshops at Theatre in The Mill.
Meatz R Uz, Tamasha (RichMix) – September 2017
A script in hand scratch of an extract from the longer play titled Meats R Uz. The play is about 4 Muslim women who run a halal butchers. (https://www.richmix.org.uk/events/theatre/tamasha-scratch-night-–- playwrights-2017-beginnings)
Part It Part Not, Royal Exchange Theatre – September 2017
Monologue performed by Shakera Ahad and directed by Amy Hailwood for the Memories of Partition Exhibition. This Monologue was based on a longer stage play called Meats R Uz set in a Halal Butcher Shop run entirely by women. (https://www.royalexchange.co.uk/whats-on-and-tickets/come-closer-memories- of-partition)
The Promised Land, Bolton Octagon; 3MT; Camden People’s Theatre and The SouthBank – June 2015 – June 2016
The play, The Promised Land was part of a showcase at Southbank in London in July 2015 as part of the International Poetry Festival and then went on to tour Manchester and London.
Round The Fire, West Yorkshire Playhouse – June 2016
A play part of the Furnace scratch about Three Indian women – a Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu who take turns telling us about their former rebellious lives and their now trapped marriages.
The Lesborrist Tapes: February 2013 – August 2015
The Lesborrist Tapes (written under Tara Ali Din). It was played on Round House Radio and toured Manchester and Edinburgh, in the form of radio, stage and has also been published in the anthology Spoke: New Queer Voices. Produced by Young Enigma/Adam Lowe.
Teacups, Royal Exchange Theatre – April 2016
Monologue performed by Shobna Gulati and directed by Kate Colgrove-Pope for the Come Closer Monologues for King Lear.
An Act of Terror – January 2018
Commissioned by Random Acts North, Produced By True North and showcased by Channel 4 Random Acts (Online) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjae2ntGaD0)
I am currently developing a TV series that has so far been commissioned to scene-to-scene with Sky Studios. (this is yet to be announced)
Besharam, Karma Nirvana (co-commission with Derby Theatre)
A research and Development commission working alongside leading national charity Karma Nirvana to create a cutting-edge small-scale production which will raise the public’s awareness of the issue of forced marriages and the effect that it has on its victims. Not Produced.
Curse of The Kohinoor, Revolution Mix (co-commission with Royal Exchange Theatre)
Tell Me Who We Were Before Life Made Us, 3 Cups Press 2021 (contributor)
Not Quite Right For Us, Flipped Eye 2021 (contributor)
re: desire; Burning Eye Books 2020 (author)
Match Made In Heaven; Hope Road Publishing 2020 (contributor)
Its Not About The Burqa; Picador 2019 (Contributor)
sounds that exceed 80 decibels; Commonword 2017 (editor and contributor)
Elevator Fiction; Commonword 2016 (editor and contributor)
Spoke: New Queer Voices; Dog Horn Publishing 2015 (Contributor)
My Dear Watson: The Very Elements in Poetry; Beautiful Dragon Press 2015 (Contributor)
Jhalak Prize (for re: desire) – longlisted 2021
Asian Media Award (for Santi & Naz) – Shortlisted 2021
Vault Festival Origins Award (for Santi & Naz) – won 2020
Foyles Book of the Year (for Its Not About The Burqa) – Shortlisted 2019
Adopt a Playwright Award – Shortlisted 2018
Old Vic 12, writer – Shortlisted 2016
The Big Issue in the North – Outsider’s Award November 2011
Community History Award – Zion Arts Centre Celebrations 2010
Community Cohesion Award – V Inspired November 2009
The Search Party – Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester March 2009
My Voice – Reading Agency November 2009