Fatimah Asghar

Acclaimed Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter
National Book Award Longlist

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • On Lyric as a Form of Decolonization
  • An Evening with Fatimah Ashgar


“In forms both traditional and unorthodox Asghar interrogates divisions along lines of nationality, age, and gender, illuminating the forces by which identity is fixed or flexible.” –The New Yorker

“These poems–both personal and historical, both celebratory and aggrieved–are unquestionably powerful in a way that would doubtless make both Gwendolyn Brooks and Harriet Monroe proud.” –Chicago Review of Books

Poet, screenwriter, educator, and performer Fatimah Asghar is a South-Asian American Muslim writer. A poet, a fiction writer, and a filmmaker, Asghar cares less about genre and instead prioritizes the story that needs to be told and finds the best vehicle to tell it. They are the author of If They Come For Us (One World, 2018), a collection of poems on orphaning, family, Partition, borders, shifting identity, and violence; the lyrical novel, When We Were Sisters (One World, 2022), an exploration of sisterhood, orphaning, and alternate family building which was longlisted for the National Book Award, Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize; as well as the chapbook After (Yes Yes Books, 2015).

Play is critical in the development of Asghar’s work, as is intentionally building relationship and authentic collaboration. Along with Safia Elhillo, they co-edited Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019), an anthology for Muslim people who are also women, trans, gender non-conforming, and/ or queer. The anthology was built around the radical idea that there are as many ways of being Muslim as there are Muslim people in the world.

They are the writer and co-creator of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendship among women of color. They also served as a co-producer for Ms Marvel on Disney + and wrote the episode Time and Again. Their episode was listed on The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter’s best episodes of 2022 list.

Asghar is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. In 2017, they were a recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and listed on Forbes’s 30 under 30 list.

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