Photo: Parwana Fayyaz
Parwana Fayyaz (b. 1990, Kabul) was raised in Pakistan, and is currently working towards a PhD on the medieval Persian poet Jami at Trinity College, Cambridge. ‘Forty Names’, her shortlisted poem, draws inspiration both narrative and lyrical from those medieval Persian traditions; Fayyaz heard the story from her parents when she was a child. ‘It is about a mountain called kohi chehal dokhtaran, the forty girls’ mountain. My poem tries to re-narrate the story by giving the forty women their names, a lamp and their colourful scarves.’
Fayyaz graduated with a BA and an MA in CompLit, Creative Writing and Religious Studies from Stanford University, studying under Eavan Boland. She intends to stay in academia to pursue her studies of Persian Sufi poetry, and work towards her first collection.