Mona Arshi worked as a Human rights lawyer at Liberty before she started writing poetry.
She completed her Masters in poetry in 2011 at the University of East Anglia with a distinction. 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 and teaches and mentors regularly at schools and colleges. She has curated poetry events at the House of Commons with EVAW (End Violence Against Women) on International Woman’s Day and co-edited a special issue of POEM magazine on the theme of BREXIT in June 2017.
Mona 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 on the judging panel for the Forward Prize and co-hosted the awards at the Royal Festival Hall. Mona makes regular appearances on the radio including Front Row and was commissioned to write a programme on the Odyssey for ‘Book of the week’ for Radio 4, which was broadcast in March 2017.
Her poems and interviews have been published in many magazines but also in the Times, The Guardian, in the US and The Times of India as well as on the London Underground. Mona has recently been working with ‘Dancing Words’ and collaborated with composer Tom Szirtes and dancer Ella Mesma to develop a film poem - ‘Ballad of the Small Boned Daughter’ which was screened at the BFI in January 2018.
Mona’s second collection 'Dear Big Gods' was published in April 2019 and is available from Liverpool University Press
Photo credit: Adrian Pope