The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2014

Published 01 December 2014

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2014 to Imtiaz Dharker.

Background and Biography
The Poetry Medal Committee met at Windsor on 4th December and was unanimous in recommending the British poet Imtiaz Dharker as this year's recipient of the award, on the basis of her new collection Over the Moon and a lifetime’s contribution to poetry.

Born in Pakistan in 1954, Imtiaz grew up in Scotland, worked for many years in India and moved to Wales and London when she married the late Simon Powell. Her collections include Purdah; Postcards from god; I speak for the devil; The terrorist at my table; Leaving Fingerprints; and Over the Moon. Imtiaz is also an artist who illustrates all her own books, and a documentary film maker.

Imtiaz is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and recipient of the Cholmondeley Award. She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library, and has recently completed a series of poems based on the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Imtiaz's poems are studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain and, with Poetry Live!, she reads to over 25,000 students a year.

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy said:

"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. She draws together her three countries: Pakistan, land of her birth, Britain and India, writing of the personal and the public with equal skill. Hers is a unique perspective and an essential voice in the diversity of English language poetry. It is a moral force – a force for good and a force for change – that refuses to see the world as anything less personal than an extended village of near neighbours sharing in common struggles for how best to live."

History of the Gold Medal for Poetry
The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. Recommendations for the award of the Medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, selected by the Poet Laureate (Carol Ann Duffy).

The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The poems will have been published. The poet will be from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm. The obverse of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by the late Edmund Dulac, is “Truth is emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration – Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty”.

Media information
Ms Dharker will be presented with the medal by The Queen in 2015.

For further information on The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry please contact the Buckingham Palace press office on 020 7930 4832.

For further information on Imtiaz Dharker please contact Christine Macgregor at Bloodaxe Books on 01434 611582 or Neil Astley on 01434 611585; or email [email protected]. For further information on Imtiaz Dharker's published works please visit

Previous recipients of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry

1934 Laurence Whistler
1936 W H Auden
1940 Michael Thwaites
1952 Andrew Young
1953 Arthur Waley
1954 Ralph Hodgson
1955 Ruth Pitter
1956 Edmund Blunden
1957 Siegfried Sassoon
1959 Frances Cornford
1960 John Betjeman
1962 Christopher Fry
1963 William Plomer
1964 R S Thomas
1965 Philip Larkin
1967 Charles Causley
1968 Robert Graves
1969 Stevie Smith
1970 Roy Fuller
1971 Sir Stephen Spender
1973 John Heath-Stubbs
1981 D J Enright
1986 Norman MacCaig
1988 Derek Walcott
1989 Allen Curnow
1990 Sorley Maclean
1991 Judith Wright
1992 Kathleen Raine
1996 Peter Redgrove
1998 Les Murray
2000 Edwin Morgan
2001 Michael Longley
2002 Peter Porter
2003 U A Fanthorpe
2004 Hugo Williams
2006 Fleur Adcock
2007 James Fenton
2009 Don Paterson
2010 Gillian Clarke
2011 Jo Shapcott
2012 John Agard
2013 Douglas Dunn