Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy headlines this special evening of spoken word and performance poetry, featuring a diverse lineup of artists with an eclectic range of styles and voices that cross many cultures.

The evening is inspired by traditional mehfils; gatherings of courtly entertainment in South Asia performed for small audiences in the homes and palaces of Muslim nobility.  It is also in the style of tapas dining; a chance to experience bite-sized portions of work from different voices and to experience new and unfamiliar poetic flavours in a cosy, intimate setting.

Joining Carol Ann Duffy in the stellar line-up are poet, artist and film maker Imtiaz Dharker, who was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014; translator, artist and editor Sudeep Sen, recognised as one of India’s finest younger poets; former Canal Laureate Jo Bell whose recent online project led to the best selling book ‘52: Write a Poem a Week’; writer, performer and the third young Poet Laureate of London, Selina Nwulu; and writer and performer Avaes Mohammad, whose influences range from the Sufi saints of South Asia to Dub Poets of Jamaica. Rehana Roohi is one of Pakistan’s foremost contemporary poets; she uses the ghazal poetic form and recites her poetry in the traditional, melodious tarannum style. Our host for this unmissable evening is the founding member of highly acclaimed spoken word collective A Firm of Poets, Ralph Dartford.

About The Poets

Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received numerous awards, including the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, the Whitbread, Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. She was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 2009. In 2011 The Bees won the Costa Poetry Award, and in 2012 she won the PEN Pinter Prize. She was made a DBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list.

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, recipient of the Cholmondley Award and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her collections include ‘Purdah’, ‘Postcards from God’, ‘I speak for the devil’ and ‘The terrorist at my table’, as well as ‘Leaving Fingerprints and Over the Moon’.

Sudeep Sen

Sudeep Sen is a poet, translator, artist and editor, recognised as one of India’s finest younger poets. He has published more than a dozen collections of poetry including ‘Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems’, ‘Distracted Geographies’, ‘Lines of Desire’ and ‘Aria’ which won the A.K. Ramanujan Translation Award. His new collection ‘Erotext: Desire, Disease, Delusion, Dream, Downpour’ is out now.

Jo Bell

Jo Bell is a poet and builder of online projects including 52, which led to the bestselling book 52: Write a Poem a Week. Former director of National Poetry Day UK, she is a Charles Causley Prize winner and has a Saboteur Award for the 52 project. In 2015 she received an honorary doctorate for services to poetry. Her latest collection is Kith.

Selina Nwulu

Selina Nwulu is a writer, poet and performer and the third Young Poet Laureate of London. Her work has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies including collections by the RSA, Lunar Poetry and Emma Press. Her first chapbook collection, ‘The Secrets I Let Slip’, was published by Burning Eye Books in September 2015. She has also performed at Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe and Fiery Tongues Festival in Ruigoord, Holland.

Avaes Mohammad

Writer and performer Avaes Mohammad regularly engages with themes of science, the socio-political and spirituality. With an upbringing that reverberated with words from the Sufi Saints of South Asia as much as the Dub Poets of Jamaica, his influences have left a permanent hue from which he experiences the sacred and profane alike.


Rehana Roohi

Rehana Roohi is one of Pakistan’s most popular contemporary poets. She uses the ghazal poetic form and recites her poetry in the traditional, melodious tarannum style.

Ralph Dartford

Ralph Dartford hails from Basildon, Essex, and is the founder member of highly acclaimed spoken word collective, ‘A Firm of Poets’. Ralph has been published in The Guardian, Stirring Magazine (US), Pulp Faction, Exterminating Angel Press (US) and London Territories. His first collection, Cigarettes, Beer and Love, was published by Ossett Observer Presents in July 2013.