Shaila Abdullah

United States

  • Geographic Location: North America
  • Languages: Urdu and English

About me:

I am a Pakistani-American author and designer based in Austin, Texas. Saffron Dreams, my latest novel is about the struggles of a 9/11 Muslim widow. See

My debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is an award-winning collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society. Among other accolades, the book won the Norumbega Jury Prize for outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award. I also received a grant from the Hobson Foundation for Saffron Dreams.

Exhibit change by:

Change comes from within an individual. We are all evolving, growing. I see it in my own work.

I'm passionate about:

My creative writing focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. It also deals with the Asian experience in America, the conflict between the two worlds and the culture of my adopted country.

Recent Forum Entries

Immigrant Women Experiences

20 posts | Tuesday, April 22, 2014 7:42 AM

How Do YOU Exhibit Change?

15 posts | Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:10 AM


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From Community:

Sins of Monsoons
Sins of Monsoons is an unpublished chapter from Shaila Abdullah's new novel Saffron Dreams.  

From Exhibiting You:

Amulet for the Caged Dove
Tannu is a metaphorically caged dove trying to live up to the expectations that come with being a woman able to bear children. While the life inside her blossoms, the ghosts of her pregnancy secret haunt her. In an act of defiance against the restrictions of expectation, she refuses to give up her firstborn to the caretakers of the shrine of Shah Daullah as tradition dictates.  

From Women, Power and Politics:

Girls Helping Girls

Sejal Hathi is a 17-year-old student at Notre Dame High School, in San Jose, California. In 2007, when she was 15, Sejal founded Girls Helping Girls, an international non-profit organization connecting girls from the United States with girls from other countries. The organization fosters self-esteem and helps young women dialogue about important issues, nurture cross-cultural friendships, and collaborate to create social change in their local communities.

From Women, Power and Politics:

Youth Communicating through Art

Featured Community Voice: Anya Kandel, Momentus International

Anya Kandel, founder and creative director of Momentus International, is sparking a global conversation among youth. Working with young people in California, Ghana and the Netherlands, her organization provides a creative space for them to communicate with and empower one another through the universal language of the arts.


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