Writer Reshma Ruia

Upload on BBC. It was great fun to read an excerpt from Mrs Pinto Drives to Happiness and chat to David Scott on BBC Radio Manchester.

Reshma Ruia: Postcards from Oxford Road from Manchester Literature Festival on Vimeo.

In August 2021, Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Poetry Library invited me to write a new micro-commission alongside the poets Andrew McMillan and Hafsah Aneela Bashir.

The brief was to write a new poem inspired by one of Manchester’s most distinctive and well known roads: Oxford Road. The poem would capture and respond to any personal connections or memories I had of the Oxford Road corridor. Alongside writing a new poem, the Festival would record a short film of me performing it on location on Oxford Road. The film would be displayed outside the Manchester Poetry Library or a nearby screen as part of the first Corridor of Light Festival taking place on Oxford Road between 21-24 October 2021.

My poem, ‘Postcards from Oxford Road’, is a set of three vignettes that imagines the road as a site for beginnings and endings. The first vignette is based on my own experience as a mature student at Manchester University. The second section focusses on Whitworth Gallery as a place of belonging and hope while the final section is more sombre and melancholic in tone. You can watch the film here:

A year later, I along with my fellow poets Andrew and Hafsah were very proud to have been shortlisted for the Manchester Culture Awards 2022 in the category, Made in Manchester Award. Here I am at the glittering Awards ceremony on 24th November at Vermillion, with Cathy Bolton, the co-director of Manchester Literature , the poet Hafsah Aneela Bashir and David from Modify Film Productions.

August 13 2019: This Glorious Noise 2, Nehru Centre London. Word Masala award for debut poetry collection.

April 22 2019. Verbose Manchester.

Headline Act at the Open Mic night. Poetry and flash fiction on the theme of Rebirth.

VERBOSE MANCHESTER. APRIL 2019

March 7 2019: 100 years after getting the Vote, 100 female identifying authors from all over the UK share their story

An evening filled with readings and debate at the launch of 100 Voices at the Pankhurst Centre, Manchester.

100 Voices for 100 Years throws the spotlight on narratives created and told by women.
100 female writers share their personal stories of achievement in an anthology edited by Miranda Roszkowski. My essay on ‘The Writer as Mother’ explores how motherhood can both enrich and stultify the creative impulse. 
The project brings together a diverse community of female identifying writers and storytellers from around the country. The resulting collection is a treasure trove of thoughts on what it is like to be a woman in the UK in 2019.
The stories are as varied as the women involved in the project; funny, profound, everyday, life-changing.

February 25 2019: Headline Act at Verbose Manchester.

Poems in response to the theme of ‘labels.’

October 30 2018: Poetry and Diwali talk at Deloittes Diwali Dinner. Science Museum. Read Mrs Basu leaves town. Dinner Party in the Home Counties.

Mrs Basu leaves town

Mrs Basu crouches in her seat at the airport gate
Chewing rat-like the ends of her sari
Bullet voices ricochet around
She grins confused like a fool
Cameras flash
A police woman scowls
Moves closer
Bare white legs pimpled with cold
Throw us a smile Mrs Basu thinks
Her bladder aches
Eyes sting from lack of sleep
She’d never wanted to leave her village far behind
It was her nephew’s daft idea to make some money
Now her life-savings gone fed into
The hungry pocket of the middleman
Curled like a foetus living behind the kitchen door
Minding a stranger’s child when she should be home
Sitting in the courtyard oiling her daughter’s hair
Illegal alien to be deported Section 3(c)
The policewoman snarls
‘I have a name’ Mrs Basu shouts, ‘Kamala Basu tenth class pass’
Her mouth twists in anger
But she pats her heart and whispers ‘Be glad’
They hustle her to the back of the waiting plane
Where passengers fidget glower and swear
Strapped in her seat Mrs Basu lets out a sigh
She is finally going home

June 25 2018: Flash fiction Headliner. Fallow Café. Organised by Verbose Manchester. Read: A Birthday Cake

January 15 2018: Women’s Words Manchester: Commissioned essay. Read at Central Library. 100 years of Suffragettes movement

The Mechanics' Institute Review

January 12 2018: Reading at Antony Burgess for MIR Anthology 15 launch.

“The Mechanics’ champions the short story as an art form, promoting inclusivity and opportunity while publishing new work of the highest possible standard.”
“Beautifully crafted tales of not fitting in and yearning for the other. Brilliant.” – Kit de Waal

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