Find a selection of our previous events below.

Kristiane Backer

Kristiane Backer – ‘From MTV to Mecca’

March 2013

Kristiane was one of the first MTV Europe presenters. She mixed at the top of the celebrity music scene in the early to mid-1990’s. She steadily became disenchanted with her life and began to explore other spiritual avenues which led to a chance meeting with the cricketer Imran Khan. She has continued to work as a journalist and presenter living in the UK, promoting the values of her Islamic faith.

Kristiane dazzled an audience of 150 (half of whom were parents) at a regenerated local mill complex with her 20 year spiritual journey. From the Rolling Stones to her conversion to Islam after meeting cricketer Imran Khan. She related a fascinating and varied journey through the contemporary Islamic world for half an hour and then took many questions from an excited audience for 15 minutes. A book signing session followed where a mixed group of parents, teachers, students and members of the public engaged Kristiane whilst purchasing copies of her book.

The event was attended by 3 local headteachers as well as literacy coordinators who were impressed with the impact on the audience. The purpose of Kahani was explained to the audience at the beginning and end of the event. Over 50 people filled out contact sheets giving positive feedback about the project and how they would like to contribute as reading volunteers, had suggestions for further authors, could establish a writing competition and many other ideas.

There was delight at the sheer variety and quality of the reading resources that support the project. Many parents took the opportunity to purchase books to share with their children and avail themselves of gems for their own reading that were completely new to them.

A great start to the Kahani project.

‘The staff and parents really enjoyed the first event and were inspired. I do hope that many more will follow and filter into schools’.

– Diane Smith (Literacy Coordinator)


Qaisra Shahraz

May 2013

Qaisra is a British Pakistani author of 3 novels. ‘The Holy Woman’, ‘Typhoon’ and ‘Revolt’. She is also a scriptwriter and works in adult education and as an OFSTED inspector. Her work has garnered a devoted following around the world with its focus on the lives of Pakistani women across the diaspora.

Qaisra delighted the audience with readings from her novels for half an hour. An extended discussion followed that was marked by a white audience member commenting that she’d never been privy to such a complex and rich debate about and between Muslim women in Bradford. This highlights the fantastic potential for building dialogue across the communities and district.

Qaisra signed many copies of her books and gave her whole hearted supported to the Kahani project. Many people left very positive comments about the event and the project.


Shaharyar Khan

July 2013

Shaharyar is a distinguished diplomat, sports administrator and author. He served as Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and has been the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Rwanda. He was also president of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

His latest book is ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ co-authored with his son Ali Khan, a professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences. It looks at how politics and cricket mirror each other in Pakistan.

It was being hosted at Bradford Grammar School. There was considerable interest in the event but Shaharyar who is retired and lives in Pakistan was delayed abroad and was unable to join us. We hope to have him as part of our future programme.

However this illustrated the thirst for a varied programme that to date involved themes of spirituality, women’s roles across the diaspora and sport and politics.


John Siddique

March 2014

John Siddique is a world class poet. He is currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at York St John University, has worked in Los Angeles for the British Council and has been poet for the city of Blackpool. He freely admits to finding his voice through his local public library. What a message for our children.

John continues his spellbinding relationship with young people. The sheer joy of these images tells you everything about his ability to entertain and explore language.

He has been a regular visitor to schools as part of Kahani. His work with staff and students have left schools feeling buzzing and empowered about literacy, language and communication.

His impact has led to one school engaging him for a whole year’s work with pupils linked to creative writing. The workshops have resulted in children being more confident in their use of language. A summer reading challenge conducted by John left 2 boys who attended raving about him. Their school immediately booked him for an INSET. His Pakistani heritage means he’s a fantastic literary role model, particularly for boys.

Kahani has introduced John to schools and combined with the exceptional reading resource pack this has led to marked improvements in reading, writing, engagement with school and an enjoyment of learning.

A literacy coordinator commented that Muslim children already argue over borrowing the limited number of books about Pakistan, Eid, Ramadan etc. They are so happy to be reading books that they can relate to. Imagine the impact of seeing 200 beautiful books that validate and celebrate their experience.