Ishrat Afreen is an Urdu poet and women’s rights activist, named one of the five most influential and trend-setting female voices in Urdu Literature. Ishrat Afreen identifies strongly with the poetic Urdu legends Muhammad Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. She uses their polished, traditional style and skillfully redirects it to create defiant, progressive messages of individuality and rebellion against patriarchal and oppressive social norms.
Afreen has published two collections of poetry, entitled Kunj Peeleh Poolon Ka (1985) and Dhoop Apne Hisse Ki (2005). Amongst others, she has been included in the prestigious anthology We Sinful Women, edited and translated by Rukhsana Ahmad, and inspired the well-known anthology Beyond Belief: Contemporary Feminist Urdu Poetry.
Ishrat Afreen ki Shairi was a book written solely on Afreen’s poetry by novelist and literary critic Ikram Barelvi. Her work has been translated into English, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hindi, Norwegian, and other languages. It can also be found in Urdu literature coursework at universities across the world.
Afreen has been honored with many prestigious awards, including the Sajjad Zaheer Award in 1986. Afreen received this honor on the 50th anniversary celebration of the Progressive Writers’ Association of India in New Delhi. She also received the Ahmed Adaya Award from Urdu Markaz International in Los Angeles, California on December 9, 2006 after Dhoop Apne Hisse Ki was selected by the International Urdu Jury as Best Urdu Poetry Publication of 2004-2005.
Afreen has been invited to attend many international conferences and festivals. She was selected to represent Pakistan in the Kavita Asia Asian Poetry Festival of 1988 in Bhopal, India, which celebrated the greatest literary minds from across the Asian continent. In September 1999, she took part in the International Poetry Festival in Stavanger, Norway.
Today she continues to lecture, hold workshops, attend conferences and read her poetry at Mushairas across America, Europe and Asia. She resides in Texas with her husband, Indian lawyer Perwaiz Jafri, and their three children.