Much-loved poet, playwright, broadcaster and speaker Lemn Sissay OBE headlines a spectacular evening of poetry at this year’s edition of the ever-popular Lyrical Mehfil.

BAFTA-nominated Sissay heads an acclaimed line-up that features prize-winning poet Mona Arshi, sacred teacher and writer John Siddique, Nikita Gill and Mumtaz Ali who together will bring a range of poetic styles and voices to this intimate event.

Mehfils are traditional gatherings of courtly entertainment performed for small audiences in the homes and palaces of South Asian nobility, and the assembly of talent at this event is fit for a king.

About The Poets

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay is an author, poet and playwright and has been awarded an MBE for services to literature. In 2018 he was made Poet Laureate of Canterbury. He has read poetry everywhere, from the shores of Sri Lanka to Wigan Library and many places between. His autobiography My Name is Why was published in 2019.

Mona Arshi

Mona Arshi worked as a human rights lawyer for a decade before she received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and won the inaugural Magma Poetry competition in 2011. Mona was a prize winner in the 2013 Troubadour International Competition and joint winner of the Manchester Creative Writing Poetry Prize in 2014. Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015.

Mumtaz Ali

Mumtaz Ali is a poet, Nasheed writer and reciter, and Sufi singer and composer from Burnley. He is the General Secretary of Diamond Arts and Cultural Society Burnley, and has written over 450 poems. His passion is promoting arts, cultural integration and community cohesion.

John Siddique

John Siddique has dedicated his life to honouring the authentic in our human experience. He is the author of a number of books ranging from poetry and memoir to non-fiction. His teachings and writings have featured in Time Magazine, The Guardian, Granta, on CNN and the BBC. Signposts of The Spiritual Journey is his eighth book.

Nikita Gill

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. Her works include Fierce Fairytales: & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul (2019), Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters (2019), The Girl and The Goddess (2020). Her most recent book Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light was published in 2021. With over 500,000 followers, Nikita is one of the most popular poets on Instagram.