Shukri's writing career was launched in 2004, when his unpublished manuscript, The Silent Minaret, won the European Union Literary Award. The novel, which deals with the global impact of the "War on Terror," was inspired by the announcement of the War in Afghanistan in November 2001. His second novel, I See You, expands on the themes established in The Silent Minaret, with conflict centering on an abducted war photographer. He has said he hopes his writing complicates people's notions of "boil-in-the-bag recipes for ready-to-eat patriotism."
In 2015, Shukri was nominated for the inaugural Financial Times Oppenheimer Funds Emerging Voices Awards, but rejected the award. Shukri stated he objected to the classification of "emergent," which is often applied to African writers, and belittles the global impact of African literature, Shukri said.
Shukri has been a permanent resident of the United Kingdom since 1997. His wife is a British citizen. The couple have been married since 1996.
In July 2015, Shukri was detained by United Kingdom border officials at Heathrow, before being deported. Shukri was traveling to visit his wife. He said the deportation was a sign of "the increasing heavy-handedness facing African migrants at UK and EU borders."
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- Adebayo, Binwe (May 17, 2015). "The best of the bottom? No thanks". News24. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Ishtiyaq Shukri Rails Against Awards That Classify Writers As "Emerging Voices"". BooksLive. May 11, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "Award-winning SA author Ishtiyaq Shukri talks about being deported from the UK". News24. July 24, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "South African Author Ishtiyaq Shukri Releases Statement After Being Detained And Deported from London's Heathrow Airport". BooksLive. July 17, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2015.