Jasmine Ann Cooray

Jasmine Ann Cooray is a poet and therapist from London. Spurred by a silent adolescence, she now designs and implements a variety of projects that cultivate emotional literacy through poetry. In 2013 she was Writer in Residence at the National University of Singapore and is just completing a year as a BBC Performing Arts Fellow. Her first full collection is almost complete, and she is working on a collaborative poetry and aerial arts show with Upswing about what it means to trust. To balance her frequent reclusiveness, she does an excellent line in hugs.

Mona Arshi

Mona Arshi was born to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London and grew up in Hounslow.

She initially trained as a Lawyer and worked for Liberty the UK human rights organisation for several years undertaking test case litigation under the Human Rights Act. She acted on many high profile judicial review cases including Diane Pretty’s ‘right to die’ case, asylum destitution cases and death in custody cases.

She began writing poetry in 2008 and attended a number of short writing courses. She then began a masters in Creative Writing (Poetry strand) at the University of East Anglia in 2010. She was tutored by George Szirtes and Lavinia Greenlaw and Moniza Alvi.

Mona’s poem Hummingbird won first prize in the Magma Magazine poetry competition in 2012. She also was one of the Competition winners for the World Events Young Artists Festival in September 2012. She was also an award winner in the Troubadour International Competition for her poem ‘Bad day in the Office’. In 2014, she was joint winner of the Manchester Creative Writing Competition.

A portfolio of her poems appeared in TEN-THE NEW WAVE (edited by Karen Macarthy-Woolf) in 2014 by Bloodaxe books.

Mona’s poetry has been published widely in magazines including Poetry Review, Magma, Rialto and the Sunday Times.

She has read her poems at many venues in London including the Troubadour, the London Review of Books as well as the Southbank. She has also performed at festivals in the UK including Ledbury and Bridlington.

Saradha Soobrayen

Saradha Soobrayen was born in London and studied Live Art, Visual Art and Writing. Saradha is a passionate advocate for Human Rights and the preservation of archives, libraries, and indigenous heritage. Her poetic inquiry: ‘Sounds Like Root Shock’ is a melange of arts activism, cultural transmission, Kreol ​dialect, political rhetoric and song lyrics that chronicles the forced removal of the Chagossian Community from the Chagos Archipelago and their ongoing fight for the ‘Right of Return.’

Saradha received an Eric Gregory Award in 2004 and was named in The Guardian as one of the ‘Twelve to Watch’, up and coming new generation of poets. She represented Mauritius at the Southbank Centre’s Parnassus Poetry Festival and won the Pacuare Nature Reserve’s Poet Laureate residency in 2015. Saradha’s poetry, essays and experimental short fiction are widely published in journals and anthologies. She is shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize. Her much awaited debut poetry collection is long overdue.

Jasmine Ann Cooray was the first poet to become a BBC Performing Arts Fellow, a prestigious professional development scheme funded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund to give space to artists to develop their craft and career. To celebrate her tenure in the scheme, she has curated an evening of vibrant, potent poetry featuring Forward Prize winner Mona Arshi and Saradha Soobrayen, shortlisted for the 2016 Brunel African Poetry Prize.

Join us at the Betsey Trotwood for readings from these inspiring leading female voices.

Due to illness, we regret that Mimi Khalvati is no longer able to join us for the evening.
Please note there is no access lift to the first floor at the Betsey Trotwood.

The event will be at:

Upstairs @ Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3BL