University Events

Chancellor’s Poetry Competition

Chancellor’s Inauguration Student Poetry Competition: Diversity and Belonging

The competition is open to current Newcastle University students from all disciplines

Deadline: Friday 27 May 2022

In July 2022 the University will hold a formal inauguration ceremony for our chancellor, Imtiaz Dharker.

To mark this momentous occasion, current undergraduate and postgraduate Newcastle University students are invited to submit a poem on the themes of diversity and belonging:

  • What does belonging look like and what does it mean to you?
  • Where do you feel like you belong?

The winning poems (one undergraduate and one postgraduate winner) will receive a prize of £250. Winners will be invited to read their poem at the celebratory dinner at the Civic Centre on 12 July 2022 (in person or via live video link).

‌Our Chancellor: Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz is a poet, artist and video film-maker. Born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. She grew up in Glasgow where her family moved when she was less than a year old.

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, and her poems have been broadcast widely on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as well as the BBC World Service. She has had 11 solo exhibitions of drawings around the world, and scripts and directs video films, many of them for non-government organisations working in the areas of shelter, education and health for women and children in India. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014.

Entries will be judged by Neil Astley, Editor & Managing Director of Bloodaxe Books Ltd, and award-winning Pakistani-British poet, Moniza Alvi.

"Belonging couldn’t be a more appropriate theme for a poetry competition celebrating the inauguration of Imtiaz Dharker as Chancellor of Newcastle University. The themes of Imtiaz’s own poetry are drawn from a life of transitions: childhood, exile, journeying, home, displacement and religious division. All these relate to aspects of belonging, to family, place, country, nation, society, belief or a combination of these. And at a time of both environmental threat and international conflict, our sense of belonging is as much to do with our relationship with the earth as it is with individual freedom and national or personal identity. There could hardly be a more fruitful territory for poets to explore right now than belonging.” 

Neil Astley, Editor & MD, Bloodaxe Books Ltd