Rukhsana Ahmad was born in Karachi and spent her formative years shuttling between major cities in Pakistan. She studied English Literature, then Linguistics at Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. After settling in Britain she resumed her study of English Literature at Reading University. She has freelanced as a writer since 1985 working across several genres but campaigning consistently for Asian writers specially women in her role as Artistic Director of Kali Theatre Company (1994 to 2002).
She is a founding member of the Asian Women Writers' Collective, and a founding trustee and current chair of SALIDAA (South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive). She was writer-in-residence in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and the London Borough of Harrow. She was a Reader for the Theatre Committe of the Arts Council of England, an Adviser to its Translation Panel and a member of its Committee for the Review of Literary Journals. She was also a member of the Theatre Committee of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.