Salma is a writer of Tamil poetry and fiction. She has published two volumes of poetry: Oru Malaiyum Innoru Malaiyum (An Evening and Another Evening) and Pachchai Devadhai (Green Angel). Her novel, Irandaam Jaamangalin Kadhai (2004), revolving around the lives of women in a Muslim community of rural Tamil Nadu, was considered a landmark achievement in Tamil. It was later translated into English as The Hour Past Midnight (2009) by Lakshmi Holmstrom. Salma has also written a collection of short stories, Saabam (The Curse) in 2012 and a novel, Manaamiyangal (Dreams) in 2016. She was the recipient of the fourth Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia award for poetry in 2019.
A political activist for the cause of women’s empowerment, Salma was Chairperson of Tamil Nadu Government’s Social Welfare Board during 2007-11. She lives and works in Chennai.