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In the ever-expanding landscape of Pakistani Writing in English, Shaila Abdullah is noted as "Word Artist" by critics. She is an
award-winning author and designer based in Austin.
Her award-winning novel Saffron
Dreams explores the tragedy of 9/11 from the perspective of a Muslim
widow. Abdullah's debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall is a collection
of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.
The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, DIY Award, Reader Views Award, Written Art Award, and a grant from Hobson Foundation.
Several academic institutions have adopted Saffron Dreams as a course study or recommended reading, including the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, and George Washington University.
Abdullah's creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Her writing also deals with the Asian experience in America, the conflict between the two worlds and the culture of her adopted country. She offers her readers a window into the multicultural world through her vibrant characters.
Abdullah is the founder of Hyphenated Spirit, an art blog that features and promotes diverse artists. She also manages a literary blog called Cayenne Lit where she posts about her own work, the literary world, and interviews of other multicultural authors.
Abdullah has written several short stories, articles, and personal essays for various publications, such as Maybe Quarterly, Damazine, Women's Own, She, Fashion Collection, Dallas Child, Web Guru, About Families, Sulekha, Pakistaniaat, and a magazine of the Daily Dawn newspaper called Tuesday Review. She is a member of the Writers' League of Texas.
Abdullah is also a seasoned print, web, and multimedia designer as well. At present, she works as a media design associate for
a nonprofit research, development, and dissemination organization in Austin, Texas.