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Writers Lab
in partnership with Soho Theatre,
Spread the Word, SelfMadeHero & We Are Bridge.  

MFest Writers Lab 2021

We’re excited to launch a writing development programme for Muslim writers in the early stages of their career. Are you an aspiring writer who has ideas for stage, screen, comics and books? Are you trying to work out what medium works best for you and how you might build a writing career?  

A cohort of 12 Muslim writers (18+) will receive 9 weekly sessions across Autumn 2021 on different writing mediums from playwriting, comic-writing, screen-writing and novel-writing with a range of different partners including Soho Theatre, Spread the Word,  SelfMadeHero and We Are Bridge.   

The course will end with an all day workshop at London's Soho Theatre (travel and accommodation covered) on Saturday 4th December.  Participants must be able to attend this session and will have to be available for all sessions. 

We are running this programme thanks to the generous support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.   

Participants in 2021

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Tia Ali

Tia Ali is a writer from East London. She is a Soho Lab 2020 alumna, finalist writer for Overhead Podcast competition 2021 (collaboration with NBC Universal, Soho Theatre and StoryHunter) and recently performed her poetry as part of DEEN & DUNYA event at Bush Theatre. Her writing is influenced by the chaos of being raised by immigrants whilst finding away to embrace her Bangladeshi and Muslim heritage.

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Bilan Ali

Bilan Ali is a writer and organiser based in London. Their work explores themes of grief, displacement, and isolation in attempt to capture what lives within the ‘and’ between Queer and Black and Muslim. Bilan is currently working on a collection of creative nonfiction essays and a closet drama.

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Amina Abdi

Amina is an Actor, Writer and Director who makes films about freedom-seekers who are transcending the restrictions that have been imposed upon them. As a Creative Writing MA graduate, Amina is well-versed in writing award-winning screenplays, bringing out award-winning performances from her actors and offering an intimate insight into the lives of characters we haven’t seen on screen yet. 

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Kauser Husain

Kauser Husain is a Creative Writer and Social Science Researcher. Her day job involves working at Coventry University within the Research Institute of Creative Cultures. She also acts as a co-chair for the BME Staff Network. As a writer, she takes a socially engaged approach, drawing inspiration from community and social research that she has conducted. She is keen to amplify the voices and experiences of marginalised communities through short stories, micro-fiction and scriptwriting. She is particularly interested in South Asian migration to the UK and second and third generation experiences of education, employment, and communities, as well as long-term illness and disability. 
Follow @kauserhusain91 on ig and twitter 

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Warren Clementson

Warren Clementson graduated in Film & Video from the University of the Arts London, before working in television & short films for a number of years. A shift in career interests saw him delve into SEN education & creative writing; Warren is now a teacher for autistic children, and currently working on his first poetry book and novel.

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Nadine Almanasfi

Nadine Almanasfi calls herself a "writer" from London. She is fiction editor of the Khidr Collective Zine, an annual print publication showcasing the work of Muslim artists. She is interested in writing about ideas of womanhood, nature, religion and art.

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Zahra Al Sultani

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Saffiyah Yacoobali

Safiyyah is a creative soul, bumblebee lover and mental health advocate. Her writing explores orientalism, faith and identity. As a British Indian-Malaysian-Burmese-Muslim, she is excited to populate Literature with the wildly unique experiences of those often underrepresented. Prose is her preferred medium of expression, but she often experiments with the art of poetry too.

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Sajida Mohamed

Sajida has a BA in Abrahamic Religions and an MA in Creative Writing. She is currently working towards a revival of Hausa Literature. You won't find her on Social Media (I ran away from it!) but she manages the blog puellaibraheem.wordpress.com, where she post about things from the random workings of her mind.

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Saher Shah

Saher is an actor, writer and poet from London. Her writing features strong female leads, Muslim characters, as well as championing stories from British South Asian backgrouds, unapologetically incorporating South Asian languages and culture into scripts. Her most recent work will be showcased as a writer/performer at the Kahani Arts festival sharing her spoken word peice You'll Be Fine, her first play Vitamin D exploring a young British South Asian Muslim woman's experience of life after divorce is currently in development.

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Amin Ali is a British Bangladeshi writer from Bletchley, Milton Keynes. He is a multidisciplinary creative. He started his creative journey as a screen actor which quickly transitioned to working on stage too. He’s mainly interested in writing for screen and stage. However, he is open to exploring other mediums too and sees no bounds to his creativity.

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Yaz Nin

Yaz Nin is a playwright. Alumni of The Royal Court and Soho theatre writers’ courses, she has had three short plays staged during the Royal Court Tottenham Festival. Her script Time is relative was longlisted on the BBC Drama scheme. Her short play, Wild Thing won a pint size theatre competition and was staged at the Bunker theatre.

She has spent time in the Peggy Ramsay writers’ room at the Royal Court theatre and is scheduled to spend more time in 2022. Due to Covid her play at the Arcola (Playwrought) was cancelled and is due to be rescheduled in 2022. Recently awarded a “free read” from spread the word for a short performance monologue celebrating Samuel Beckett.

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Tamer Akeil

Tamer Akeil was a finalist for Green Curtain Theatre's Stories of Immigration and shortlisted for Netflix Screenwriting fellowship.

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Hesham Zakai

Hesham Zakai is the Managing Director of a specialist financial media company by day and an aspiring author by night. He is currently working on a debut novel, The Orphan of Aden, based on the recent history of his homeland. He has previously worked at the Special Reports team of the Financial Times and in the Press department at the European Parliament. He is also the former editor-in-chief of London Student, and has published essays on topics ranging from anti-apartheid hero Steve Biko to the history of the Middle East.

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Halima Azan Hassan

Halima is a writer and editor based in London. She loves film, theatre, and video games. Currently, Halima is working on a collection of surreal, fantastical stories inspired by her life in the city and growing up between cultures.

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Sahra Mohammed

Sahra is passionate about increasing literacy within marginalized communities, particularly in the area of health, which she achieves in her ongoing role in Healthcare Communications within the Pharmaceutical industry.  

Alongside this, Sahra is also a 2021 alumna of the Young Muslim Leadership Programme (YMLP) and 20/21 Aziz Foundation Scholar, having recently completed an MSc in Drug Discovery & Pharma Management at UCL and her thesis in collaboration with a Cambridge University start-up. Outside of academia and employment, Sahra is a Board Trustee on Home Girls Unite (HGU), a support group and platform for eldest immigrant daughters. 

Sahra is also particularly interested in exploring culture and identity through writing, having recently been featured in the autumn 2021 edition of The Other Side of Hope, a journal showcasing refugee and immigrant writers from around the world. She is currently working on her first novel, a historical fiction set in East Africa in the 1970s. This sparked her involvement in the Women Writers Project at Oxford House, whereby she is supporting the development of a Literature Festival to build and expand on Somali Arts projects.  

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Fadumo Mohamed

Fadumo is a self-taught screenwriter from London. Growing up she always had a love for movies and storytelling but, like every good child of an immigrant, she ignored her passion and studied a STEM subject at university. After working for a charity for a few years, Fadumo recently quit her job to pursue a career in TV. She loves to write funny, colourful, character driven scripts mainly aimed at children and adolescents. Her work draws inspiration from her culture, religion as well her life growing up in London.

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Tasmia Salim

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Mohamedally Shushtari

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