Waqas Khwaja


Agnes Scott College Box #1091 141 East College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030

Author's Bio

Waqas Khwaja has published four collections of poetry, Hold Your Breath, No One Waits for the Train, Mariam’s Lament, and Six Geese from a Tomb at Medum, a literary travelogue, Writers and Landscapes, about his experiences as a fellow of the IWP, and three edited anthologies of Pakistani literature, Cactus, Mornings in the Wilderness and Short Stories from Pakistan, presenting a selection of work originally written in English as well as poetry and fiction from Urdu and Punjabi in English translations he undertook especially for these publications. He served as translation editor (and contributor) for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, a project jointly sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Pakistan Academy of Letters, which showcases the work of 44 poets from seven of Pakistan’s national and regional languages. He has guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies and another on Pakistani poetry for Atlanta Review. A regular contributor to The Frontier Post, The Pakistan Economic Review, The Pakistan Times, News International, The Nation, and The Friday Times between 1983 and 1992. Khwaja was a practicing lawyer and visiting professor of law in Pakistan before migrating to the U.S. in 1993 to pursue an academic career in literature. He has published articles and essays on writers from a variety of linguistic and literary traditions and on subjects as wide-ranging as literature and economics, history, culture, and politics. He is the Ellen Douglass Leyburn Professor of English at Agnes Scott College, where he teaches courses in Postcolonial literature, British Romanticism, Narratives of Empire, Gothic literature, Victorian poetry and fiction, Literature and Leadership, and Creative Writing. He has a Ph.D. in English from Emory University, LL.B. from the Punjab University Law College, Lahore, and an honorary fellowship from the International Writing Program (IWP), University of Iowa. His poems and translations have appeared in US, Pakistani, Indian, European, East Asian and Far Eastern publications, literary journals, and anthologies. Khwaja regularly organizes poetry readings for social and political causes and arranges open public readings annually at Agnes Scott College as part of the international “100 Thousand Poets for Change” project. Additional information may be found on his website: wkhwaja.agnesscott.org.

Publications & Prizes

Singing in the Dark: A Global Anthology of Poetry Under Lockdown (Vintage, 2020)
Poetry and Voice (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012)
Modern Poetry of Pakistan (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011)
A Dragonfly in the Sun (Oxford University Press, 1997)
Mornings in the Wilderness: Readings in Pakistani Literature (Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1988)
Hold Your Breath (Onslaught Press, 2017)
No One Waits for the Train (Alhambra Publishing, 2007)
Mariam’s Lament and Other Poems (Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1991)
Writers and Landscapes (Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1991)
Six Geese From a Tomb at Medum (Sang-e-Meel Publications, 1987)
Atlanta Review
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Wild River Review
Prizes won: 

"Special Recognition for Outstanding Creative Writing," South Asian Literary Association, an affliate of the Modern Language Association, 2017


More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Muslim, South Asian
Prefers to work with: 
Adults, Any, At Risk Youth, Teachers
Fluent in: 
English, Hindi, Urdu
Born in: 
Raised in: 
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Apr 23, 2021