Moniza Alvi

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Moniza Alvi (born 2 February 1954) is a Pakistani-British poet and writer.

Life and education

Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She was the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. Her father moved to Hatfield, Hertfordshire in England when she was a few months old. She did not revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems - The Country over my Shoulder. She worked for several years as a high school teacher, but is now a freelance writer and tutor for the Open College of the Arts, living in London. She and her husband, Robert, have a daughter named Alice.


Alvi says: "Presents from My Aunts...was one of the first poems I wrote. When I wrote this poem, I hadn't actually been back to Pakistan. The girl in the poem would be me at about 13. The clothes seem to stick to her in an uncomfortable way, a bit like a kind of false skin, and she thinks things aren't straightforward for her.I found it was important to write the Pakistan poems because I was getting in touch with my background. And maybe there's a bit of a message behind the poems about something I went through, that I want to maybe open a few doors if possible."

Peacock Luggage, a book of poems by Moniza Alvi and Peter Daniels, was published as a result of the two poets winning together the Poetry Business Prize in 1991, in Alvi's case for 'Presents from my aunts in Pakistan'. Accessed 8 April...
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