After starting out in the ‘eighties as a journalist and reviewer for the Asian Post, a current affairs magazine, Rukhsana moved to writing short fiction. Tara Arts invited her to write her first stage play, which led to a number of commissions.
In 1991 The Women’s Press published her collection of translations, We Sinful Women, in a dual text edition that included the Urdu originals. Published in India by Rupa and earlier in Pakistan by ASR, under the title Beyond Belief, this book is still taught at a number of universities. The entire text is available as a free download on Columbia University’s Urdu language and resources website run by Professor Frances Pritchett.
Rukhsana has also translated an Urdu novel, Dastak naa do by Altaf Fatima: The One who did not Ask. This was commissioned and published by Heinemann in 1993.
Rukhsana has won the Hawthornden Castle Writing Fellowship twice. This award
enabled her to complete her first novel, The Hope Chest, Virago 1996
Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the US, Canada,
UK, India and Pakistan. Some of these titles are listed on the publications page.
In 2008 the UK Film Council (now British Film Institute) funded her adaptation of
Nadeem Aslam’s novel, Maps for Lost Lovers.
As a passionate campaigner for justice and inclusion in the arts, Rukhsana was directly involved in three major artistic enterprises for British Asian writers and artists, each of which has had a lasting impact on the literary scene.
Rukhsana has served on the Theatre Committee of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. She was a member of the Arts Council’s Literary Magazines Committee, Advisor to the Arts Council’s Literary Translation Panel and a Reader for the Arts Council of England’s Theatre Committee.
In September 2016 Rukhsana returns as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow to Queen Mary, University of London, a post she has held twice before. Rukhsana has also taught Creative Writing at Queen Mary, University of London as Project Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund in 2004/5.
Rukhsana was born in Karachi and now lives in London with her husband. They have three children who have all chosen to settle overseas.