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Pakistani-Scottish Imtiaz Dharker To Be Named Poet Laureate

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A Pakistani-Scottish is set to be appointed as the poet laureate – an eminent poet appointed as a member of the British royal household – next month, replacing Carol Ann Duffy.

Dharker, who defines herself as ‘Pakistani-Scottish Calvinist Muslim’ will become the first Asian and the second women poet laureate in the position’s 350-year-long history, reported Daily Mail.

The 65-year-old who has written about themes including religion, identity, culture, and feminism was chosen by a committee of 15 poetry experts as the 10-year tenure of Carol Ann Duffy ends on April 30 (today).

Dharker was born in Lahore but grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. In Desert Islands Discs show in 2015, she described herself as a ‘cultural mongrel’.

“I am a Pakistani-Scottish Calvinist Muslim, adopted by India and married into Wales. Don’t try to put me in a box. I am a cultural mongrel,” she said.

Dharker was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014 and is a former poet-in-residence at Cambridge University Library.

Carol Duffy has also opined over the naming of Dharker saying that it was the best choice to make. “Reading her, one feels that were there to be a world laureate, Imtiaz Dharker would be the only candidate,” said Carol.

“Whether Imtiaz Dharker writes of exile, childhood, politics or grief, her clear-eyed attention brings each subject dazzlingly into focus.”

A final decision regarding the appointment will be made by the Queen.

Liked the story? Also read: Pakistani Woman’s Journey From Refugee Camps To NASA

Hibah Rehmani was born in Pakistan but left for Kuwait with her family when she was only a month old. Days later, Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and the family had to flee to a refugee camp on Iraq-Jordan border.

During their first night at the camp, the family did not have a tent so had to sleep in an open sky.

But sleeping in an open sky did come as a blessing in disguise because Rehmani grew fond of stars and the endless sky.

She is now an avionics engineer at the United States’ National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).

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