Shaila Abdullah

Shaila Abdullah is a Pakistani-American award-winning author and designer. A "Word Artist," Shaila Abdullah wrote five books, including Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, and three children's books.

Shaila Abdullah was born in Karachi. From 1989 to 1993, she studied graphic design at the Karachi School of Art.

With over three decades of experience in the industry, Abdullah has served as the Owner and Creative Director of My House of Design since 1993. Her firm has been instrumental in developing a diverse array of print, web, and multimedia resources for high-profile entities, including the U.S. Department of Education, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the City of Lake Forest.

As a writer, Shaila Abdullah began her literary journey with the collection of stories Beyond the Cayenne Wall (2005), which focuses on Pakistani women and their struggle to carve out their identities.

Her masterful storytelling earned her the esteemed Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award, among other notable accolades.

In her profound novel, Saffron Dreams (2009), Abdullah adopts the perspective of a Muslim widow to navigate the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. The protagonist's experiences emphasize the importance of preserving cultural and religious identities as fundamental pillars of harmony.

This resonant work secured her a grant from the Hobson Foundation, further solidifying her status as a prominent voice in contemporary literature. Abdullah's nuanced exploration of the impact of 9/11 on ordinary Muslims resonates deeply, offering a reflection on the struggles of a community grappling with societal perceptions and stereotypes.

Several institutions have incorporated Saffron Dreams into their curricula due to its critical and academic acclaim. The University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, and California State University, among others, have all integrated Abdullah's work into their academic programs.

Additionally, her novel has served as a springboard for various presentations and papers, reflecting the profound impact of her storytelling on contemporary discourse.

In addition to her novels, Shaila Abdullah has published short stories, articles, and essays in reputable publications such as Women's Own, She, Fashion Collection, Sulekha, and Dallas Child.

A luminary of literature and design, Abdullah's multifaceted career has earned her international recognition and numerous prestigious awards.

Among the awards she has received for her work are the Golden Quill Award, Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction, DIY Award, Reader Views Award, and Written Art Award.

As a result, the Global Diversity Practice named her one of the Women Power 100 of Pakistan.

In addition to her impactful literary contributions, Abdullah remains a trailblazing figure in the design industry, with her firm's work continuing to garner acclaim for its innovation and creativity.

Abdullah's entrepreneurial spirit and creative prowess continue to inspire and empower individuals and organizations alike. He is certified as a SBA 8(a) Small Business, Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), Texas State HUB, MBE, WBE, and DBE, as well as Washington State MWB.

Shaila Abdullah lives in Austin, Texas.

Photo credit:
years of life: 1971 present


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