Writer & Poet

F. Zehra Naqvi is a writer, poet, editor, educator, and Rhodes Scholar. She is a winner of the 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers awarded by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Her poem ‘forgetting urdu’ was the winner of Room’s 2016 Poetry Contest. She has written and edited for various publications internationally. Her work has appeared in Tin House, RoomThe New Quarterly, Jaggery, The Express Tribune, DAWN, Routed Magazine, The Minola Review, Living Hyphen, Contemporary Verse 2 and The Capilano Review.

Zehra holds an MSc in Migration Studies and an MSc in Social Anthropology from Oxford University. Prior to Oxford, she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA Honours in English and Creative Writing. At UBC, Zehra was a Wesbrook Scholar, a recipient of the English Honours Medal, and was awarded the Teresa Tenisci Memorial Prize for demonstrating exceptional achievement in UBC’s Creative Writing Program. Zehra was born in Karachi and raised on unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver). She is currently working on her first book. 

Occasional social media posts on Twitter: @fzehran. Instagram:  @hintsofgladness 


“Just as the revered Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz commanded us to speak in his seminal piece ‘Bol,’ so too does Zehra Naqvi’s ‘The Knot of My Tongue’ compel us to unpack the complexities of that seemingly simple act. In a voice that is equal parts theologian, autobiographer, and linguist, Naqvi calls us to consider the possibilities and impossibilities, the power and failures of the written word. These heartfelt poems play with form and structure as they weave their way through Quranic tradition, the conspiratorial silence of community and family, and the poet’s inner world towards a beauty that speaks beyond the limitations of language." 

— 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award poetry jury (Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney)
  • dear baba – a video poem written, edited, and produced by zehra naqvi

Credit for the calligraphy featured on header goes to the artist, Aleena: http://theguyanagyal.deviantart.com/