Imtiaz Dharker Readings

Imtiaz Dharker Readings

‘Imtiaz Dharker’s poetry shines a light in the dark… You cannot hear her perform without being somehow transformed by the experience. Witty, wise, profound and moving, her work crosses continents. Carol Ann Duffy once said if there was to be a world laureate, it would be Dharker. Agreed.’ – Jackie Kay, The Guardian


Imtiaz Dharker's seventh book of poetry, Shadow Reader, was published in May 2024. As with all of Imtiaz's collections, it is illustrated with her own unique and beautiful drawings. She was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry for Over the Moon, her fifth book of poetry from Bloodaxe. Her sixth, Luck is the Hook, was published by Bloodaxe in 2018. 

Imtiaz gave in-person launch readings at Hexham Book Festival and Newcastle Poetry Festival ahead of publication of Shadow Reader, and will be giving many more readings at festivals and bookshops around the UK in summer and autumn 2024.  Scroll down to see a video of her online launch with Bloodaxe in May 2024, and a film of her reading poems from Shadow Reader.

Imtiaz Dharker read from her new collection Shadow Reader at the live poetry and music event Out-Spoken at the Southbank Centre's Purcell Room on 16 May 2024.  This was recorded by BBC Radio's The Adverb, and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 later in 2024.  Imtiaz was reading alongside poets Rachael Allen and Salena Godden.  With music from Nik Sheva & Kara Marni.

BBC Radio 3's Private Passions with Imtiaz Dharker was broadcast on 26 May 2024.  Listen here.  She was in conversation with host Michael Berkeley about her life, work and her musical choices, and read a poem from her new collection Shadow Reader.

For reviews and details of Imtiaz's interview on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live (a BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week choice), see:

'Weaving between her distinctive illustrations and powerful poems, Dharker expresses the most profound concern for humanity.' – Jo Clement, PBS Selector, Poetry Book Society Summer Bulletin 2024, on Shadow Reader





Wednesday 24 July 2024, 7pm-8.30pm (previously announced as 15th July) - SOLD OUT!

Reading at Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham

14a Long Row, Nottingham, NG12DH

Imtiaz Dharker will be reading from her new collection Shadow Reader. Refreshments included.

Tickets: £3 / £5 / £12.99 (Book and ticket combo). Refreshments included.

More information for the new date of 24 July below.  This event is now fully booked. Waiting list only.


Readings at other festivals and venues around the UK will be announced later in the year.


Tuesday 15 October 2024, 7pm

Reading at Manchester Literature Festival

Manchester Poetry Library, Manchester Metropolitan University, Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 6BG

Imtiaz Dharker will be reading from Shadow Reader, alongside Romalyn Ante. Hosted by Anjum Malik.

Further details coming soon.


October 2024, exact date TBC (Postponed event from May - more details coming soon)

Centre for Poetry and Poetics: Warda Yassin, Inua Ellams & Imtiaz Dharker

The Diamond, 32 Leavygreave Road, Broomhall, Sheffield S3 7RD

Imtiaz Dharker will be reading from Shadow Reader alongside poets Warda Yassin and Inua Ellams.

Free event. More details and booking coming soon.




Tuesday 21 May 2024, 7pm BST

Bloodaxe online launch reading by Amanda Dalton, Imtiaz Dharker and Katie Donovan

Amanda DaltonImtiaz Dharker and Katie Donovan joined us on 21 May 2024 for an online launch reading, celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections.  They read from their new poetry books and discussed them with each other and with host Neil Astley.  Imtiaz read second in each set.


Imtiaz Dharker: Shadow Reader

Imtiaz Dharker reads a selection of poems from Shadow Reader. This video includes some of the drawings from Shadow Reader showing their visual connections with particular poems from the book. Neil Astley filmed her reading from her new collection at her home in London in January ahead of the book’s publication in May 2024.


Imtiaz Dharker at Newcastle Poetry Festival 2023

Imtiaz Dharker reads the poem 'Chaudhri Sher Mobarik Looks at the Loch' from Luck is the Hook, followed by 'Undone' from Over the Moon, and then ‘The Trick’, also from Luck is the Hook. The rest of the reading features several new poems from Shadow Reader.



Imtiaz Dharker was The London Book Fair's first ever 'Poet of the Fair' in April 2018. A five-minute interview Imtiaz gave to The London Book Fair can be read here. She was also Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival in October 2018.

Imtiaz was interviewed for The Scotsman Sessions ahead of her virtual appearance (sold out) at StAnza International Poetry Festival in St Andrews in March 2021.  A film of her reading ‘Chaudhri Sher Mobarik looks at the loch’ and ‘The Trick’ from Luck is the Hook was accompanied by an interview.  Read the feature here.




Imtiaz Dharker was invited to make a film for National Poetry Day on 7 October 2021.  She read her poem 'Choice' from the first of her six Bloodaxe collections, Postcards from god

'Choice' is featured on a billboard at 313 Scotland Street, Glasgow G3 8YW to celebrate National Poetry Day 2021.   National Poetry Day has commissioned billboards across five UK cities featuring poems from local poets, so their words greet us where we live, work and walk. Produced in partnership with creative street advertising specialists JACK ARTS, each poem will provide passers-by with the chance to take-away a poem to share with family and friends.

Imtiaz Dharker grew up in Glasgow, where her family moved when she was less than a year old. She comments:

'It's a great thrill to have my poems up on the streets of Glasgow. I wish my parents could have seen them, they would never have believed it. However much I've travelled, it was Glasgow that started me writing poetry and I'll always be a Weegie at heart'.



Thursday 17 December 2020, 7pm, Makar to Makar - streamed live at 7pm, then available on YouTube

Imtiaz Dharker was invited back to Makar to Makar. She was part of the Christmas special line-up, along with former UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Jen Hadfield, whose first two collections were published by Bloodaxe.  Imtiaz was Jackie Kay's guest on Makar to Makar on 4 June (see video below). 

Imtiaz read some beautiful winter poems, including 'Thaw' from Luck is the Hook, and she also read her unpublished poem 'Go to the Child' which was set to music in 2019 for Radio 3 Breakfast's Carol Competition. You can listen to all the settings on Radio 3's website here.

'Curated by the Makar, the National Poet for Scotland, Jackie Kay, Makar To Makar has showcased a dazzling line-up of established talent and emerging voices, including Imtiaz Dharker and Niall Campbell.  The main run of Makar To Makar is over, but we are returning for two final seasonal shows, Christmas and Burns Night specials.'

This outstanding series combines poetry, conversation and a cappella singing from Claire Brown, Katherine Philpott, and Suzanne Bonnar. For this Christmas Makar to Cracker event, Suzanne's daughter also joined the show to sing a duet.

Makar To Cracker | Christmas Special | Jackie Kay with Carol Ann Duffy, Jen Hadfield, Imtiaz Dharker and Annie Lennox


Saturday 28th November, 8pm, Ó Bhéal Winter Warmer Festival of Poetry
Tongo Eisen-Martin, Jacob Polley, Imtiaz Dharker
The festival featured 36 poets from fifteen countries. Fellow Bloodaxe poet Jane Clarke also read on 28 November.
Imtiaz is introduced at 40:00. The other two poets join her after her reading for a discussion.

Thursday 30th July 2020, 5pm, Inside Writing Festival

Imtiaz Dharker closed the Inside Writing festival on 30 July. This digital festival took place instead of the Newcastle Poetry Festival in 2020.

'Join us for the final INSIDE WRITING event, an exclusive poetry reading from Newcastle University Chancellor, and Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry Winner, Imtiaz Dharker. '

Imtiaz Dharker read three new poems for the graduating students and for young people during this pandemic: 'For You, Whose Moment is Due', See Through' and 'Answering Back', as well as her new poem 'Cranes Lean in', written during lockdown.

She read  from her recent Bloodaxe collections Over the Moon ('Speech Balloon', 'I Swear', 'Waiting for Crossrail', 'At Smithfield, waiting to get in', 'Medium') and Luck is the Hook ('Flight Radar', 'The Trick', This Tide of Humber'), as well as poems from older collections: I Speak for the Devil  (They’ll say, ‘She must be from another country'’), The Terrorist at My Table ('The Right Word') and Postcards from god ('Living Space'), among others.


Thursday 4 June 2020, 7pm, Makar to Makar

Jackie Kay in conversation with Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker was in conversation with the Scottish Makar (National Poet of Scotland) Jackie Kay on Makar to Makar on 4 June, with music from Suzanne Bonnar. A moving mix of poetry, conversation and song.  Imtiaz read poems from several of her Bloodaxe collections:  Luck is the Hook (‘The trick’, ‘Chaudhri Sher Mobarik looks at the loch’, Over the Moon ('Speech Balloon' 'I swear', 'In Wales, wanting to be Italian, 'Hiraeth, Old Bombay') and I Speak for the Devil  (They’ll say, ‘She must be from another country'’), along with some new poems.

A separate clip from the end of the event, in which Imtiaz reads 'I swear' and her new poem 'Cranes Lean in', has been posted here. The full video of this wonderful event is posted below.

Links to all Makar to Makar episodes, with full credits to all the poems read – including Jackie Kay’s poems published by Bloodaxe - are here.


[28 February 2024]

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