Momtaza Mehri, a 24-year-old poet, essayist and editor from Kilburn, has been appointed the new Young People’s Laureate for London.
Mehri will use her position to “amplify the voices” of 13-25 year-olds through poetry and will work with Spread the Word, which organises the laureateship, on youth-focused projects across London. She will also tour six London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Kingston, Bromley, Redbridge and Sutton.
“It's an unexpected and thrilling feeling being the new Young People’s Laureate for London,” said Mehri. “It’s both a role and responsibility to dream of and I hope to do it justice. I want to use this role to amplify the voices of young Londoners and showcase their creative potential. I know they will inspire me as much as I hope to inspire them.”
Mehri was selected by a nomination panel, including arts bodies such as The Roundhouse, Apples and Snakes, Barbican, South Bank Centre and the Poetry Society, and poets Jacob Sam-La Rose, Joelle Taylor and Nick Makoha.
Taylor said: “The Young People’s Laureate is both the voice of and advocate for London youth, as well as being an ambassador for global poetry. A dynamic and diverse city demands a poet that can speak for it and help others to find their mouths too - and that is at the heart of why the role was created. Momtaza Mehri brings a rare understanding of transnational cultures that will infuse the role and help create a poetic that is identifiably London.”
Mehri replaces Caleb Femi, who held the role for two years.