Qaisra Shahraz

Qaisra Shahraz FRSA 

Qaisra Shahraz is the Founder, Curator and Executive Director of MACFEST, Muslim Arts and Culture Festival. She is a prize-winning and critically-acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter, peace and gender activist. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a literary judge, a former Director of Gatehouse Books and Asia Pacific Writers & Translators partnership, advisor to  International Journal IJRHS. Qaisra has gained two Masters Degrees in English & European literature and scriptwriting for television.

Qaisra has won the prestigious National Diversity, Lifetime Achiever Award for services to ‘Literature, Education, Gender and Interfaith Relationships’ (2016). In 2018, she gained the University of Salford, Alumni Achievement Award for having achieved distinction in her multiple careers and for contributions to the arts and community cohesion. In 2019 she won the British Muslim Award for MACFEST under the category of Leading Lights of the year.’

In 2017, Qaisra was recognised by ‘Lovin Manchester’ as number 1 in a list of 50 Most Influential Women in Manchester, one of 100 influential Pakistani women in Pakistan Power 100 List and included in the Muslim Power 100 list (2018). On 2019 International Women Day Qaisra appeared in Manchester Metropolitan Universities list of 11 Extraordinary Women From Manchester alongside Emmeline Pankhurst, the famous Suffragette. 

Her novels, The Holy Woman, Typhoon, Revolt & collection of short stories, A Pair of Jeans and other stories and The Concubine & The Slave Catcher - stories from around the world, have been translated into several languages including Mandarin. Her Holy Woman won the Bradford Waterstones' title of Best Book of the Month and has been a bestseller for 15 years in Indonesia. Her novels and stories including A Pair of Jeans are studied in schools and universities. A critical analysis of her works has been done in a book entitled The Holy and the Unholy: Critical Essays on Qaisra Shahraz’s Fiction (2011). She has appeared in many international writers’ festivals and book fairs. Her award-winning drama serial Dil Hee To Hai was broadcast on Pakistani Television in 2003.

Qaisra has enjoyed a successful career in education as an Ofsted inspector, a quality manager, assessor, education consultant and international teacher trainer including working under the auspices of the British Council. She is highly committed to promoting harmony and community cohesion through her various roles as MACFEST Director, Co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester,Trustee of We Stand Together, Executive Member of Manchester Muslim-Jewish Forum and a UK partner with New York's Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

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