SOAS University of London

About SOAS

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker.

Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014 and a recipient of the Cholmondley Award, her collections include Purdah (Oxford University Press), Postcards from god, I speak for the devil and The terrorist at my table (all published by Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK), Leaving Fingerprints and Over the Moon (Bloodaxe Books UK).

Born in Lahore in 1954, she has lived in the UK since she was six months old. She grew up in Scotland, took her MA in English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, worked for many years in India, calls herself ‘Welsh by marriage’ to the late Simon Powell, and now lives in London. She has one daughter.

Her poems are on the British GCSE and A Level English syllabus. She reads to more than 25,000 students a year, travelling all over the country and abroad with six other poets with Poetry Live! She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library, for Thresholds, and has recently completed a series of poems based on the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral. She is a Council Member of the Royal Society of Literature, a Trustee of the Poetry Archive and the Poetry Trust and is also on the editorial board of Poems on the Underground.

Imitaz Dharker has had eleven solo exhibitions of pen and ink drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. She has also scripted and directed over a hundred video fi lms, many of them for non-government organisations in India, working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children.

She delighted the audience at the 2016 graduation ceremony with her poem ‘The Elephants have come out of the Room and on to the Piccadilly Line’ that was in praise of SOAS.