Imtiaz Dharker to be named as the first Asian poet laureate

Tuesday 30th April 2019 11:09 EDT

Imtiaz Dharker would be the first Asian and Muslim origin person and second woman to be named as poet laureate in the UK. The British poet laureate is an honorary position appointed by Britain's monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister The role does not include any specific duties, but there is an expectation that the holder will write verse for significant national occasions.

Dharker, 65 was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but moved to Glasgow when she was young and studied locally. Dharker's daughter Ayesha, 41, is a Shakespearen actress and has also appeared in tv series such as the Coronation Street and several English films including Star Wars and The Mistress of Spices. 

Growing up in a conservative Pakistani family, Dharker was made to focus on education. She fell in love with an older man while studying at the university and eloped to India shortly after her final exam. She married journalist Anil Dharkar, who runs the Mumbai Literary festival now and moved to Mumbai, India. Dharker never got to see her mother again, but reconciled with her father and siblings after her divorce with her husband. Her second husband Simon Powell, founded Poetry Live before his death, due to cancer in 2009. 

Though the department for culture said that an appointment has not yet been confirmed and the final decision will be taken by the Queen, it is believed that Dharker was chosen by the government to succeed poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, as her ten-year term ended on April 30.

Dhaker has written about religion, identity, culture and feminism. She was reportedly awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, and is a former poet-in-residence at the Cambridge University Library. GCSE and A-level students read her work in their syllabus and Dharker speaks to more than 25,000 students in poetry recitals across UK, every year.

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