On 4th December, the Poetry Medal Committee met at Windsor and came to an unanimous decision to choose Imtiaz Dharker as this year’s recipient after praising her new collection Over the Moon and recognising her life’s contribution to poetry.
After being born in Pakistan in 1954, Imitiaz grew up in Scotland, and has worked in India, Wales and England over the years. Her collections of poetry include Purdah, I speak for the devil, Postcards from God, Leaving Fingerprints, The terrorist at my table and Over the Moon. Alongside this, Imtiaz also illustrates her own books, and is a film maker for documentaries.
Imtiaz was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library. She is also a recipient of the Cholmondeley Award.
Imtiaz’s poetry is used in GCSE and A Level English syllabus’ across Britain and is involved in Poetry Live!, where she reads to over 25,000 students every year.
Speaking about the award, The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy said:
“Whether Imtiaz Dharker writes of exile, childhood, politics or grief her clear-eyed attention brings each subject dazzlingly into focus. She makes it look easy, this clarity and economy, but it is her deft phrasing, wit and grace that create this immediacy. She draws together her three countries: Pakistan, land of her birth, Britain and India, writing of the personal and the public with equal skill. Hers is a unique perspective and an essential voice in the diversity of English language poetry. It is a moral force – a force for good and a force for change – that refuses to see the world as anything less personal than an extended village of near neighbours sharing in common struggles for how best to live.”
The Gold Medal for Poetry was finished established in 1933 by George V after suggestions from the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield.
The Poet Laureate (Carol Ann Duffy) chooses the committee of men and women who decide on the award’s recommendations each year.
The Gold Medal for Poetry is presented to recognise excellence in poetry, be this a recognition of someone’s lifetime’s work, or after an outstanding collection of poems has been published. The recipient is always from the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth.
The last three recipients of the award have been Douglas Dunn (2013), John Agard (2012) and Jo Shapcott (2011).