Saira Niazi (Place Writing, 2023)Saira Niazi

Saira Niazi

Shortlisted in 2023 for Place Writing

Saira Niazi is a London-based writer, renegade guide and founder of the Living London project. Over the years, she has written extensively on the places and people that make up her home city. Niazi’s writing has been published in various magazines and journals including Huck, Time Out and the New Statesman.

In 2020, Niazi self-published a collection of personal essays entitled, Belonging: Reflections of a Renegade Guide, exploring themes of exploration, love, faith, transience, mental health and being a woman of colour. Sharing her strange and unlikely journey towards becoming a wandering guide, Niazi draws upon the stories, experiences, and insights of the extraordinary people she has met along the way. From monks and mudlarks to storytellers and scientists, Niazi’s place-centred work celebrates the different kinds of beautiful lives that exist.

Alongside her writing practice, relishes creating, delivering and capturing exploratory wanderings and workshops for community and youth groups. Niazi has worked with organisations including the Museum of London, Tate, Brixton Project, Wimbledon Book Festival, House of St Barnabas and the Creative Society. She currently works as a Community Stories Lead at Slow Ways where she often writes about the places and people that render different parts of the UK so unique. She is also developing a project entitled Portrait of the South Downs in partnership with Campaign for National Parks and the South Downs National Park Authority, exploring various cultural and spiritual connections with the landscape.