Momtaza Mehri announced as new Young People’s Laureate for London

Momtaza Mehri (above), photographed at the National Poetry Competition Award Ceremony by outgoing Young People’s Laureate Caleb Femi, March 2018.

Momtaza Mehri, fresh from her prestigious 3rd prize win in the National Poetry Competition with ‘Oiled Legs Have Their Own Subtext’, was announced on Wednesday 11 April as the new Young People’s Laureate for London.

Momtaza Mehri will work with the capital’s youth to create poetry about the issues they care about – developing London’s talented young writers, and inspiring young people all over London to read, speak and write poetry. She will receive a range of poetry-development opportunities to assist her career progression and will front a tour in six outer London Boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Kingston, Bromley, Redbridge and Sutton.

Momtaza said: ‘It’s an unexpected and thrilling feeling being the new Young People’s Laureate for London. It’s both a role and responsibility to dream of and I hope to do it justice. I want to use this role to amplify the voices of young Londoners and showcase their creative potential. I know they will inspire me as much as I hope to inspire them. I am excited by the possibilities we can imagine together, through and with poetry.’

‘Oiled Legs Have Their Own Subtext’ was announced as the 3rd Prize winner in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, at an awards ceremony in London on 28 March 2018. Hannah Lowe, who judged the competition alongside Andrew McMillan and Pascale Petit, said of the poem, “This incredibly rich and textured poem demanded reading again and again. It is accumulative in effect, skilfully selecting details and juxtaposing these to give a picture of a life or lives affected by war, violence and displacement.”


13 April 2017