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In a recent episode of Kitabi Qisse, we spoke with Pakistani-American poet, Esma Ashraf who had recently published her third book of poetry, Afsanah. She shared details on her new books and also inspirations from soulful Urdu poetry and writing.

Ashraf mentions poets as creative inspirations including Faiz, Parveen Shakir, and Gulzar among others. As a child she mentions Alif-Laila (Arabian nights) as fun reading. For reading tips, Ashraf talks about finding the inner motivations as readers of soulful Urdu poetry. She also encourages writing as a form of self-expression.

Kitabi Qisse started as a series of conversations with South-Asian creatives on their favorite book inspirations. The series ran from February and will close for 2023 in August. We will restart in 2024.

To enquire about this, please reach us directly!

About Esma Ashraf


Esma Ashraf is a Pakistani-American published author of two poetry books. She graduated from New York University in Clinical Social Work. While practicing her profession, writing poems and stories were always her passion as well.

She is bilingual and has been writing in her native language, Urdu since 2000.

Her first publication; Shamma: The Dancing Flame won an award for best poetry book in 2019 by The Independent Author Book Expo. She also got published in few magazines in the past. Ms. Ashraf’s latest poetry book; Afsanah in her words is receiving much recognition locally. This book was released February, 2023. The poetry books are published by Archway Publishing. Ms. Ashraf’s recent Urdu poetry book got published in Pakistan.

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Peerbagh is an independent 501 c3 non-profit registered in the city of Austin, Texas. We work with a mission to build storytellers and diversify bookshelves.