Conversation Two: Gillian Allnutt & Mona Arshi

2.15pm - 3.45pm

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Gillian Allnutt

Gillian has published nine collections of poetry, seven of them with Bloodaxe Books. The latest, wake, came out in 2018. How the Bicycle Shone: New & Selected Poems (2007) includes work from Nantucket and the Angel (1997) and Lintel (2001), both shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

For many years she has taught creative writing in universities and schools and for organisations such as The Arvon Foundation. She has held residencies in community-based projects – working, for example, with Orthodox Jewish women in Gateshead and with Freedom From Torture in 2009-10, with asylum-seekers in Newcastle and Stockton. She has also worked as a journalist and from 1983-88 was Poetry Editor of City Limits magazine in London. She is currently involved with the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project at Durham University and holds a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship at York University.

She won the Northern Rock Foundation Writer’s Award in 2005 and in 2016 was presented with The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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Mona Arshi

Mona worked as a human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry.

Her debut collection ‘Small Hands’ won the Forward Prize for best first collection in 2015. She has also been a prizewinner in the Magma, Troubadour and Manchester creative writing competitions.

Mona was the 2016-2017 Arvon/Jerwood poetry mentor .She has performed her work at over 40 Festivals both here and abroad. She has read at the Royal Society of Literature, the Poetry School, The Southbank and in 2017 she was one of the judges for the Forward Prize.

Mona makes regular appearances on the radio including Front Row and was recently commissioned to write a programme on the Odyssey for ‘Book of the week’ for Radio 4. Her poems and interviews have been published in The Times, The Guardian, The Times of India as well as on the London Underground.

Mona’s second collection ‘Dear Big Gods’ is published in May 2019 by Liverpool University Press.

Sathnam Sanghera from the Times described Mona as ‘nothing less than Britain’s most promising writer.’

George Szirtes: ‘It is rare to find a first book as beautiful as this.’