Poet, artist and filmmaker Imtiaz Dharker is 2019’s Chester Literature Festival Guest Director and Artist in Residence.

Her poems and illustrations, inspired by Storyhouse and its communities, will be emblazoned across Storyhouse’s spaces creating an enormous poetry book.

Imtiaz says: “Storyhouse is more than a library, reading room, cinema, theatre, café. For the thousands who walk through its doors, it is a welcoming space, a safe haven, a meeting-place for all kinds of unexpected stories. I see it as a huge breathing book, alive with possibilities, ready to tell you a new story, or rewrite an old one, every time you turn a corner or a page.”

She has also curated four special events for this year’s Chester Literature Festival:

Imtiaz and Friends. Imtiaz is joined by celebrated and emerging artists for an evening of friends and poetry.  Featuring former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy with poets Keith HutsonMark PajakElla Duffy and Mollie Underwood.
Find out more.

Raymond Antrobus. British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus reads from his debut book The Perserverence. Ranging across history and continents, these poems operate in the spaces in between, their haunting lyrics creating new, hybrid territories.
Find out more.

Andrew McMillan. Andrew McMillan’s debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. Raw and urgent, these poems are hymns to the male body – to male friendship and male love – muscular, sometimes shocking, but always deeply moving. Find out more.

The Gypsy, The Poet and The Dancer with David Morley. David Morley is a poet whose work often takes influence from his part-Romani background. On the final day of the Festival, David will be joined in The Kitchen by flamenco dancers from Deva Flamenco in a celebration of poetry and dance with gypsy roots. Find out more.

About Imtiaz

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film-maker. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library and has worked on several projects across art forms in Leeds, Newcastle and Hull, as well as the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral. Her six collections include Over the Moon and the latest, Luck Is the Hook, all published by Bloodaxe Books UK, and her poems have been broadcast widely on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as well as the BBC World Service. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings around the world, and scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children in India.

“Whether Imtiaz Dharker writes of exile, childhood, politics or grief, her clear-eyed attention brings each subject dazzlingly into focus. She makes it look easy, this clarity and economy, but it is her deft phrasing, wit and grace that create this immediacy”. Carol Ann Duffy


Festival Chester Literature Festival 2022

Storyhouse’s annual festival of words and ideas returns this coming autumn.