An award-winning writer and activist whose work has covered mental health and LGBTQ+ issues, including racism and intolerance, has been selected as the new Birmingham Poet Laureate.

Jasmine Gardosi was handed the prestigious title at the Birmingham Literature Festival on Thursday (6 October). 

Celebrated writer Gardosi will hold the post of Birmingham Poet Laureate from October 2022 until September 2024.

Speaking about receiving the Laureate title, Gardosi said: “Last night I became Birmingham Poet Laureate.

“It’ll be some job, following on from this hero Casey Bailey (outgoing Birmingham Poet Laureate) – but I’ll give it my best shot.

“This city and its poetry changed my life. I can’t wait to champion it – and to show that poetry is an art form of infinite possibilities.”

Gardosi also congratulated incoming Young Poet Laureate Iona Mandal: “Look forward to going on this mad journey with you.”

She mentioned outgoing Young Poet Laureate Fatma Mohiuddin and said it had been an “honour to see her growth”.

Gardosi is a multiple slam champion, beatboxer, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate finalist and winner of the Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry.

Young Poet Laureate Mandal (left) with Birmingham Poet Laureate Jasmine GardosiLee Allen
New Young Poet Laureate Iona Mandal (left) with new Birmingham Poet Laureate Jasmine Gardosi
Iona Mandal has been chosen to be Birmingham's new Young Poet Laureate Iona Mandal
Iona Mandal has been chosen to be Birmingham’s new Young Poet Laureate

Her work exploring LGBTQ+ issues, women’s health, sex education, identity and mental health has appeared on Button Poetry, at the Tate Modern, Glastonbury Festival, Symphony Hall and across BBC Radio, including BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, Radio 4 and BBC Asian Network.

The gifted writer was also 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.

​A two-time recipient of an Honorable Mention for Outstanding International Entry in the Button Poetry video contest, her work has been featured on their channel to tens of thousands around the world.

Her video-poem about trans voices, ‘Say It Anyway’, was commissioned by the Brontë Parsonage Museum as their Writer In Residence to mark the bicentenary of Anne Brontë, and was featured at the Flatpack Festival.

Birmingham's outgoing poet laureates Casey Bailey and Fatma MohiuddinPaul Stringer / Supplied
Birmingham’s outgoing poet laureates Casey Bailey and Fatma Mohiuddin

Her commission for Standard Chartered saw her showcased globally as part of International Women’s Day 2018 and she is a previous BBC Arts Young Creative and Poet in Residence for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

​Gardosi was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre to create ‘Dancing To Music You Hate’, her debut show exploring gender identity, which features poetry, beatbox and Celtic dubstep. The show received straight standing ovations when it premiered.

Despite a busy schedule Gardosi has led West Midlands Poets’ Place for eight years and conducts school and community workshops around the country.

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