Qaisra Shahraz

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. Qaisra was born in Pakistan and has lived in Manchester since childhood. 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’ in 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 2017, Qaisra was recognised by Lovin Manchester as number 1 in a list of '50 Most Influential Women in Manchester'. Similarly she has been recognised as one of 100 influential Pakistani women in 'Pakistan Power 100 List' and included in the ‘Muslim Power 100’ list (2018).

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a literary judge, a former Director of Gatehouse Books, an advisor to  International Journal IJRHS and Asia Pacific Writers and Translators partnership. Her novels, The Holy Woman, Typhoon, Revolt and 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 book, 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 community and social cohesion through her roles as MACFEST Director, a trustee of Manchester Multi Faith Centre,  Co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester' Co-Chair 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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