Nairobi-born, Farah Ahamed is a lawyer, writer and a third-generation Kenyan. She studied law at the University of London and worked as a human-rights lawyer before pursuing a creative writing programme at the University of East Anglia. Her latest book Period Matters: Menstruation in South Asia, published by Pan Macmillan India, is an anthology of essays, fiction, interviews and art on menstruation. Some of the contributors include Rupi Kaur, Shashi Deshpande, Lisa Ray, Tishani Doshi, Shashi Tharoor and Anish Kapoor, among other renowned writers and artists. It also includes lesser heard voices. First of its kind, Period Matters chronicles the region-specific, ancient and modern-day practices regarding menstruation. This includes menstruation as experienced by the transgender community, homeless and incarcerated in Pakistan and factory workers in Bangladesh. It also highlights entrepreneurial efforts, the menstrual rights bill, period leave in India and explores cultural and religious menstruation rites in Bhutan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Niyati Bhat interviewed the author for Outlook.
Q. What prompted you to work on an anthology of fiction, non-fiction and art on menstruation? Why did you choose to focus on South Asia?