Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker (Born 1954) is a Scottish Muslim poet, artist and documentary film-maker.She was born in Lahore to Pakistani parents. She was brought up in Glasgow where her family moved when she was less than a year old. She was married to Simon Powell, the founder of the organization Poetry Live, who passed away in October 2009 after surviving cancer for eleven years. Dharker divides her time between London, Wales, and Mumbai. She says she describes herself as a "Scottish Muslim Calvinist". Her daughter Ayesha Dharker, {whose father is Anil Dharker}, is a well known actress in international films, TV and stage.As of 2010 she has written five books of poetry Purdah (1989), Postcards from God (1997), I speak for the Devil (2001), The Terrorist at my Table (2006) and Leaving Fingerprints (2009) (all self-illustrated).She is a prescribed poet on the British AQA GCSE English syllabus. Her poems Blessing and This Room are included AQA Anthology, Different Cultures, Cluster 1 and 2 respectively.The main themes of her poetry include home, freedom, journeys, geographical and cultural displacement, communal conflict and gender politics. All her books are published by the poetry publishing house Bloodaxe. Purdah And Other Poems deal with the various aspects of a Muslim woman's life where she experiences injustice, oppression and violence engineered through the culture of purdah.She was part of the judging panel for the 2008 Manchester Poetry Prize, with Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke. For many she is seen as one of Britain's most inspirational contemporary poets.Dharker is also a documentary film-maker and has scripted and directed over a hundred films and audio-visuals, centring on education, reproductive health and shelter for women and children. In 1980 she was awarded a Silver Lotus for a short film. An accomplished artist, she has had nine solo exhibitions of pen-and-ink drawings.
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