Sascha Akhtar has had her fiction published in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic & Storgy. She has two collections of stories in the works, two novels, five short stories and a book of translations of pioneering feminist fiction writer Hijab Imtiaz from the Indian Subcontinent coming out in April 2020 on Oxford University Press, India.
The first story Sascha wrote was at the age of seven. It was about a post-apocalyptic world where only a single flower remains – not much has changed. Her concerns in story-telling are often the psychological effects on people of environment & trauma. She is the author of six published poetry collections and was the recipient of a #DYCP grant in October 2018.
Sascha feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.
HEAVENLY BREEZE: Storis from Karachi - will be published in October 2020.
HEAVENLY BREEZE: Stories from Karachi
by Sascha Akhtar
Heavenly Breeze is a collection of lyrical, atmospheric stories of varying lengths set in urban Pakistan. The stories throw a light on the class divide in Pakistan, exploring the widening gulf between ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’, something that has been brought to light due to recent political events in Pakistan.
Guddi has a memory that she re-visits often. A day such as those living in colder climates huddled around fires can only dream of; the sky a blue canopy emitting a sheen of pure warmth, its hot light penetrating the eyes to the core. She is standing on the roof-top of her aunt’s sprawling house in the city of Lahore. As far as the eye can visit there are clusters of people crowded on rooftops silhouetted against the dazzling firmament.
Sound fills the atmosphere almost as much as the sensation of light; shouts, giggles, and yelps of celebration. Guddi looks up and feels her heart whizzing upwards. Bursts of colour emblazon the view; mustard yellow kites with fluttering cherry tails, emerald kites with saffron tails streaking through the sky, aquamarine, tangerine, amethyst all flying at different heights like a cubist rainbow in the noon-day Lahore sky. Her father’s hair still thick back then is billowing in the wind, his moustache firmly attached to his face. This is one of the rare occasions that she sees him in a starched white shalwar kameez instead of a bush shirt and trousers.