Birmingham Poets Laureate 2022-2024 announced at Birmingham Literature Festival event on National Poetry Day 2022
Jasmine Gardosi has been named as the new Birmingham Poet Laureate during a National Poetry Day celebration, which also marked the start of this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival.
Jasmine, a multiple slam champion and beatboxer, becomes Poet Laureate for 2022-24, succeeding poet Casey Bailey.
Iona Mandal, 16, from Birmingham was also announced as the 16th Young Poet Laureate during the event. Iona, a pupil at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, succeeds Fatma Mohiuddin, and will hold this title for two years.
During their tenure, both Poets Laureate will produce new poems and work to promote poetry across the city, as part of the scheme run by the Library of Birmingham.
As the city’s 23rd Poet Laureate, Jasmine will act as a poetry ambassador and help raise the profile of poetry across Birmingham. She will be asked to write poetry for special occasions, lead poetry workshops, inspiring others to try their own hand at reading and writing poetry and will mentor the newly-appointed Young Poet Laureate.
“I’m excited to demonstrate through my role as Birmingham Poet Laureate that poetry belongs to everyone. Our voices are as diverse as Birmingham is – in fact, I believe there are as many types of poetry as there are people in this city. Whether it’s my beatbox/poetry fusions, performing poetry on a rollercoaster, or merging poems with music, I want to show to the world that poetry takes on many forms. It’s an art of infinite possibilities and it’s accessible to anyone. Everyone has a voice, and everyone’s voice matters.
“I’m especially excited to connect the poetry and music communities, and as an LGBT poet, simply be myself on a larger stage.”
Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and Chair of the Selection Panel, said:
“Writing West Midlands is delighted to be working with the new Birmingham Poet Laureate, Jasmine Gardosi, and the new Birmingham Young Poet Laureate, Iona Mandel. Both poets are uniquely gifted to speak for many in the city, and more importantly they bring an irrepressible enthusiasm for communicating through poetry. It is going to be a wonderful two years.”
Iona Mandal says:
“Being chosen as the Birmingham Young Poet Laureate (2022-2024) has instilled in me a sense of honour, catalysed my personal odyssey with poetry and renewed my appreciation for the wonders of our city, which is home.”
Notes to Editors:
Birmingham City Council – through the library service and with support from Writing West Midlands – has appointment a Poet Laureate since 1996, and a Young Poet Laureate since 2005. More information is available here.
The announcement was made on National Poetry Day, Thursday 6 October 2022, as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival, which is running online events, workshops, podcasts and daily poetry throughout October 2022.
If you would like to book the Birmingham Poet Laureate or Young Poet Laureate for an event, please email info[at]writingwestmidlands.org.
About the poets:
Jasmine Gardosi is a multiple slam champion, beatboxer and winner of the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry. Her work exploring identity, LGBTQ issues and mental health has appeared on Button Poetry, at the Tate Modern, Glastonbury Festival, Symphony Hall and across BBC Radio. She was featured on Sky Arts’ BAFTA-winning show Life & Rhymes and her poem about the pandemic, filmed on a rollercoaster, was broadcast across America on PBS.
She is a previous Writer in Residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Poet in Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and BBC Arts Young Creative. Her poetry/beatbox/Celtic dubstep show ‘Dancing To Music You Hate’ exploring gender identity was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and premiered to standing ovations. She recently performed extracts of her show with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall.
Iona Mandal, 16, is a Year 12 student of King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls. Self-expression through words, particularly poetry, has always appealed to her as the most diverse and dynamic endeavour to pursue. Iona enjoys speech and drama, a harmonious combination of her love to perform what she writes. A commended Foyle Young Poet (2020) contributing to the Young Poets Network, Iona’s poems have won accolades, published in children’s books/anthologies, and read in speech festivals and venues as the House of Lords, BBC Radio Leicester and Natural History Museum, London.
Iona has used her poetry to raise funds for St. Mary’s Hospice, Birmingham and the NHS during the pandemic. She enjoys writing haikus, translating poetry from her mother tongue Bangla and contributing to the Special Interest Group magazines of the Mensa High IQ Society, where she has long been member. Iona looks forward to sharing her poetry among the young residents of Birmingham, inspiring them to believe in the power of words.