​A Bridge Across Civilisations

"Bit by bit now; in my breast, your memory dies from me

The heart’s not infinite, and sometimes sorrow seizes me

You’re a fistful of dirt, wounded, a winter, a distant land,

How much I miss that fistful you’ll never understand!” 

From ‘A poem for Iran’, by Fatemah Shams 

Fatemeh Shams was born in Khoransan, Iran. In 2005, she left to puruse her Master’s Degree the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC), The scholarship she received to do this was to be the gateway to a new life and many opportunities.  

After graduating from ISMC and armed with an in-depth understanding of Muslim heritage, Fatemah has pursued a career as a lecturer in the fields of literature and history. After teaching Persian language at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University for three years, she now teaches classical literature at Cortauld Institute, Somerset House, London.

Fatemeh’s deep love for her country has only strengthened with time.

“And every day, and everywhere I go, beneath this rain, ten times I say, ‘But yet… I wish… and in Iran again…'”

Since she was four years old, poetry has been a way for Fatemeh to share her thoughts and ideas about different issues. While living in UK, poetry has served as a way for Fatemeh to reach out to a larger audience and to share with them her feelings as an exiled Iranian writer.

In August 2013, Fatemeh launched her first book of poetry under the title ‘88’. The poems form a catharsis, or release of pain, from her personal experiences, many of which reflect the human condition in societies around the world today. The bulk of the poems are written after her exile from Iran following the disputed presidential elections.​

“Institutions like ISMC and Oxford have given me the opportunity to live differently and see the world differently. Both through financial and intellectual support, they have been the main platforms for me as a scholar and writer to continue both my education and literary career with freedom.”