Voices of Experience

Hexagon Theatre, mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, B12 9QH

A compelling afternoon of spoken word giving a voice to regional creative writing talents, as part of events to mark International Women’s Day in March.

Event update: you can now read Vimal Korpal’s review of Voices of Experience, along with an interview with the writers here. Our thanks to Vimal and to I Am Birmingham.


Join us for another chance to hear original work from Sampad’s creative writing initiative Birmingham > Brick Lane > Bangladesh.

Ably supported by Midlands-based actor, Vimal Korpal, female writers Tamanna Abdul-Karim, Diya SenRushnara MahamudSamiha Mahamud and Jasvir Kang will share powerful narratives exploring their family lives and personal journeys, produced during a series of intensive workshops with writer Paven Virk.

This time, they will be joined after the interval by Solihull-based writer Abda Khan who released her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Stained, in October 2016 as a response to some of the rarely-confronted issues faced by women in British South Asian communities.

Abda will read excerpts from Stained and join the other writers in conversation with Paven Virk, as well as taking questions from the audience.

You can hear Abda talking to BBC WM presenter Nina Das Gupta about her involvement in Sampad’s Voices of Experience and her debut novel Stained at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04srtzq#play (listen from 38:45, clip available until 28 March 2017).

Recommended age 12 +

About Abda Khan

Abda was born in Bradford, England, in 1969 to Pakistani immigrant parents. She has worked as a lawyer all her life. Abda now lives in Solihull with her husband and children. She was inspired to write ‘Stained’ as a result of her experiences of the problems faced by women in the British South Asian communities.

About the writers

Tamanna Abdul-Karim

A proud mum of three, a teacher at heart, a keen traveller, amateur in the kitchen and a book-lover. Tamanna does full contact sport with nappies, is a serious sweet muncher and enjoys the theatrics of life!

Diya Sen

Diya lives in Birmingham with her husband and two boys. She is a tax consultant and her interests include arts, travelling and music.

Rushnara Mahamud

Now a primary school teacher, Rushnara also has wide experience in the voluntary sector often working to empower and support  women. She is a mother of two children.

Samiha Mahamud

Samiha is currently working towards her A Levels at Joseph Chamberlain college, studying English literature, philosophy, psychology and history with a view to reading Law at university. She enjoys reading, keeping up with current affairs and debating. She also enjoys keeping fit and listening to music.

About Paven Virk (workshop leader)

Paven founded Second Generation Theatre Company at the age of 16, exploring issues affecting her generation. After co-producing two plays with The Belgrade Theatre, she went on to take part in the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, the NFTS Screenwriting for Film & TV Course, Theatre Royal Stratford East Musical Theatre Writing Residency, the National Theatre Writers Attachment and Working Title Films’ prestigious residency at the Hay Festival. She was named one of Screen International’s “Stars of Tomorrow” and has been selected for Guiding Lights Feature film mentoring scheme. Paven is currently writing feature films MUSLIM GIRLS & FEELING PUNJABI she is also part of the writing team for Ayub Khan Din’s new series The ABC for Channel 4. Her new play SAVE OUR SCHOOL DINNERS… JAMIE! will showcase at The Old Rep & The Belgrade Theatre on March 8th and 23rd 2017 as part of International Women’s Month.

About Jasvir Kang (workshop co-leader)

Jasvir spent the 1970s writing short stories and poems, reflecting her own experiences and the lives of South Asian women she knew. The stories spoke about the oppression and intolerances experienced by some of these women and the impact this was having on their family lives. Jasvir’s first book of short stories, Geji was published in 1989. A further three books were published in the 1990s.

Praise for Abda Khan’s debut novel Stained

“Khan has written a contemporary Tess of the D’Urbervilles, a heart-wrenching and engrossing tale that challenges the definition of morality through the story of a wronged young woman fighting to come to terms with harsh realities and finding empowerment along the way.”  Booklist, Caitlin Brown

“…I love the way Abda has woven in the various strands about culture and identity, and the cultural clash that takes place in the homes and hearts of South Asian families in Britain…I think this is a much-needed antidote to the London media friendly ‘saris and samosas’ claptrap that often masquerades as authentic British South Asian fiction.”  Bali Rai, Celebrated British Author

“…Through the compelling plot and carefully structured narrative, Khan gives voice to women whose stories are rarely heard and raises a series of complex and challenging cultural, social and moral questions.”  Yorkshire Post

“Stained examines the pressures of cultural taboos and sensitivities faced by women in society, and how they affect their life profoundly. Ultimately, it explores human endurance in the face of extreme adversity, and the extent to which, eventually, one is left with nothing but hope. The plot and characters draw the reader in from the very first page. Abda Khan has skilfully produced a novel that is both compelling and thought-provoking. A thoroughly captivating book.” Julian Knight, MP, author & former BBC Journalist

“It’s a very well-written book, engaging and definitely recommendable. Riveting descriptions bring the story to life, especially in the most emotive passages…definitely a page turned that will keep you hooked”. Eastern Eye Newspaper


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