[re:desire] by afshan d'souza-lodhi
longlisted for the Jhalak Prize
‘This is an evocative collection of painful and beautiful multilingual poems in which silences are broken, sexuality is uncertain, and love is a bloody mess.’ - Dean Atta
Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s debut poetry collection [re:desire] explores the yearning to love, be loved and belong from a desi (South Asian) perspective. Her work sits on the intersections of flash fiction, poetry and script, echoing the hybridity of the worlds that many young British desis find themselves occupying. Drawing on the poetry of many different languages and cultures – Urdu, English, Konkani, Islamic and Christian – this collection explores how we access our traditions from a distance.
[re:desire] draws upon literary traditions and cultural references to flip the male gaze common in mushairas on its head. Common themes for mushairas are love, God and being drunk or intoxicated by love and God – but is usually seen from a male perspective. The pieces in re: desire are mainly told from a female perspective, and question the gender given to particular acts, objects and ideas.
‘Afshan is without a doubt the poets voice I have been waiting for, her poems take you on a journey questioning all those places we have been and are going to; her work is witty , beautiful and poignant showing us language has no boundaries.’ - Shobna Gulati
Afshan D’souza-Lodhi is an award-winning writer of plays and poetry. She has been commissioned to write and direct a short film for Channel 4 and a radio play for BBC Sounds (Chop Chop). Afshan has edited many anthologies and has an essay featured in Picador’s collection by Muslim women called Its Not About The Burqa. She has completed residencies at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Literature Festival and has worked with Eclipse Theatre, Tamasha Theatre Company and Paul Burston’s Polari.
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. Afshan also sits on the steering committee for Northern Police Monitoring Project, an independent campaigning and advocacy organisation that challenges police harassment and violence.