Annie Zaidi

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Annie Zaidi (born 1978) is an English-language writer from India. Her collection of essays, Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, was short-listed for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award in 2010.[1][2] In addition to essays, she also writes poetry (Crush, 2007), short stories (The Good Indian Girl, 2011), plays and has published a novella. She won the The Hindu Playwright Award for 2018.[3]


Zaidi obtained her B.A. degree from Sophia College in Ajmer. During her time there, she wrote plays for the college cultural festivals and wrote poetry. Keen on pursuing writing as a career, after her graduation she joined the journalism course at Xavier Institute of Communications in Mumbai.

Personal life[edit]

She was born in Allahabad. She and her older brother were brought up by their mother Yasmin Zaidi, a school teacher and principal. Writing genes run in the family. Yasmin wrote poetry for newspapers and Annie's maternal grandfather is Padma Shri laureate and much-feted Urdu writer and scholar Ali Jawad Zaidi.

She currently resides in Mumbai.


Annie Zaidi's first collection of essays, Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, was short-listed for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award in 2010. Noted journalist and author P. Sainath has said of the book: "The stories on dalits in the Punjab easily rank amongst the best done on the subject" and "Above all, it is the quality of the story-telling that grips you. A beautifully written book".[4]

In July 2014, Harper Collins India released its third collaboration with Zaidi, this time a novella. Titled Gulab, it tells the story of an eerie romance between a living man and a ghost.

Her collection of short stories Love Stories # 1 to 14, published by Harper Collins India in 2012, is "a look at love, straight in the eye, to understand the alluring nature of the beast".

Another collection of short stories, The Good Indian Girl, was co-authored along with Smriti Ravindra and published by Zubaan in 2011. Crush, a series of 50 illustrated poems (in collaboration with illustrator Gynelle Alves) was published in 2007.

Her essays, poems and short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Dharavi: The City Within (Harper Collins India), Mumbai Noir (Akshic/Harper Collins India), Women Changing India (Zubaan); Journeys Through Rajasthan (Rupa), First Proof: 2 (Penguin India), 21 Under 40 (Zubaan), India Shining, India Changing (Tranquebar). More of her work has appeared in literary journals such as The Little Magazine, Desilit, Pratilipi, The Raleigh Review, Mint Lounge, Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi) and Asian Cha.

In June 2012, Elle magazine named Zaidi as one of the emerging South Asian writers "whose writing we believe will enrich South Asian literature".[5] The list also called 20 under 40 was inspired by Granta′s 20 under 40 list.

In 2015, Zaidi published an anthology called Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women's Writing.[6][7]

Plays and films[edit]

File:Annie Zaidi (2018).jpg
Actor-director Ratna Pathak Shah (right) giving away the award to Annie Zaidi

Annie's play "Untitled-1" won her The Hindu Playwright Award 2018.[8]

Her play Jaal [9][10] opened at Prithvi Theatre in January 2012 as part of Writers Bloc:3,[11] a drama festival in Mumbai.[12]

Another play, So Many Socks (English), opened at the Prithvi Theatre in September 2012. It was nominated in several categories, including best script, for the prestigious META awards.[13][14] The play was directed by Quasar Padamsee, who was also nominated for best direction.

Her first full-length script, Name, Place, Animal, Thing, was shortlisted for The Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award, 2009.[15][16][17][18]

A radio play, Jam, was the regional (South Asia) winner for the BBC's International Playwriting Competition 2011.[19]

Zaidi also directed some short movies such as Ek red colour ki love story, which is a poetic movie, and a suspense thriller Ek Bahut Chhoti si Love Story.[20]

In 2016, she directed the short film Decibel that was part of Shor Se Shuruaat,[21] an omnibus of seven short films. She was mentored by film-maker Sriram Raghavan during the making of the movie. [22]

Journalism career[edit]

Zaidi started her career as a journalist. She has had stints with leading newspapers and magazines such as Mid-Day and Frontline. Her reportage for Frontline allowed to her to develop material for her book Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales. At the same time, she also began writing a blog called Known Turf.

In January 2008, Rouge, a supplement of the Times of India named Zaidi on a list of Women (under 30) to Watch Out For who are most likely to make an impact through their professions.

She has written for several publications including Caravan, Open, The Hindu, Elle, Forbes India, Femina, Marie Claire, Tehelka and the Deccan Herald.

She also wrote a weekly column for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) between 2011 and 2013. Zaidi wrote "An open letter to Honey Singh" to protest against the lyrics he uses for women in his songs.

Zaidi currently writes a column for The Hindu.


  1. ^ "Ruskin, Upamanyu in Crossword Awards Shortlist", Outlook (New Delhi), 28 July 2011.
  2. ^ [1], Afternoon Despatch
  3. ^ "Annie Zaidi wins The Hindu Playwright Award 2018"
  4. ^ Editorial Reviews
  5. ^ "From ELLE: The Storytellers". Deepanjana Pal. 
  6. ^ Trisha Gupta (20 June 2015). "Book Review – Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women's Writing". Indian Express. 
  7. ^ "What women wrote". The Hindu. 
  8. ^ [
  9. ^ TimeOut (January 2012) Archived 30 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Jaal, TimeOut (March 2012) Archived 12 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Writer's Bloc". 
  12. ^ JANHAVI ACHAREKAR. "Off the bloc: Take three". The Hindu. 
  13. ^ "SO MANY SOCKS". Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards. 
  14. ^ "QTP's 'So Many Socks' nominated for the META awards 2013". mid-day. 8 March 2013. 
  15. ^ The Hindu-Blogs "PLAYWRIGHT AWARD 2009" Archived 3 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Prakash, Koechlin win MetroPlus Playwright Award". The Hindu. 
  17. ^ Three Plays. 
  18. ^ "Asking tough questions". The Hindu. 
  19. ^ "BBC World Service – Arts & Culture – International Playwriting Competition 2011: Meet the winners". BBC. 
  20. ^ In Her Words Shambhavi Saxena, "When And Why Do Women Choose To Write? Filmmaker Annie Zaidi Answers This, And More", YKA, 15 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Shor Se Shuruaat (2016)". IMDb. 
  22. ^ "Annie Zaidi's short film depicts a Mumbai without noise". The Hindustan Times.