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Mona Arshi's debut collection, Small Hands, introduces a brilliant and compelling new voice. At the center of the book is the slow detonation of grief after her brother's death but her work focuses on the whole variety of human experience: pleasure, hardship, tradition, energised by language which is in turn both tender and risky. Often startling as well as lyrical, Arshi's poems resist fixity; there is a gentle poignancy at work here which haunt many of the poems. This is humane poetry. Arshi's is a daring, moving and original voice.
Mona Arshi was born to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London where she still lives. 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 began writing poetry in 2008 and received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She won the inaugural Magma Poetry competition in 2011 and was on the Complete Works Program, a scheme funded by the Arts Council. Mona was joint winner of the Manchester Creative writing poetry prize in 2014.