Raman Mundair

Raman Mundair is a British poet, writer, artist and playwright. She was born in Ludhiana, India and came to live in the UK at the age of five. Her poetry has been featured in Acumen, Poetry Scotland, Kavya Bharati and widely anthologized. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, ‘A Choreographer’s Cartography’ and ‘Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves’ – both published by Peepal Tree Press and ‘The Algebra of Freedom,’(a play) published by Aurora Metro Press. Her collection of short stories ‘In the Light of Other’ will be published in 2009. In 2007 her play ‘The Algebra of Freedom’ was produced to great acclaim by 7:84 Theatre Company and in 2006 she collaborated with the National Theatre Scotland and Òran Mòr - A Play, A Pie, A Pint on ‘Side Effects’, a one-act play. As an artist she makes work that represents text and narrative in a visual form. Her work has been exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, City Art Gallery, Leicester and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. In 2008 Mundair was nominated for the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2008 Mundair won a Robert Louis Stevenson Award and became a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow at the Hotel Chevillon in Grez-sur-Loing, France. In this same year she was invited to become Scottish Poetry Library Poet Partner for East Dumbarton. In 2007 she was awarded the highly sought after Arts Council England International Fellowship at the India International Centre in Delhi and in 2006 Mundair was runner up in the Penguin Decibel Prize for Short Fiction. The Independent newspaper wrote in a review of her work "Raman Mundair is a rare breed: a poet whose writing works on the page and the stage. Her readings reveal the secret music of the poem… Mundair is literature at its best: thoughtful, provocative and sharp."

Raman has been Writer in Residence in Stockholm, New Delhi, Glasgow and the Shetland Islands and has represented The British Council as a writer, workshop facilitator and performer internationally.

As an artist she makes work presenting text and narrative in a visual form. Her work has been exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow, City Art Gallery, Leicester and The Generator Gallery, Loughborough.

Raman Mundair’s poetry can be contextualized as part of the pioneering contemporary Black British poetry scene that includes Patience Agbabi and Dorothea Smartt, both of whom read at the Barbican Centre (London) launch of Mundair’s first collection of poems ‘Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves’ in 2003.

Mundair writes across genres: poetry, prose and plays. Her writing is iconoclastic, challenging and political in nature but rendered with a keen sense of poetics. She has described herself as an ‘outsider writer’ and that she has come to appreciate her various states of ‘unbelonging’ as they allow her to transcend the limits of boundaries and choose to ‘belong’ anywhere.

Mundair’s poetry has tackled varied themes including the deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Ricky Reel, the Iraq war, domestic violence, sexuality, gender, migration, immigration and the idea of ‘hidden histories’: where she imagines Queen Victoria’s relationship with her Sikh man servant, India maid servants in British India and Indian soldiers in the trenches during World War One. Equally she writes sensitively about intimacy, loss and the small, quiet but significant moments in life.

Mundair’s poetry is multi-lingual and although the primary language is English, she uses Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Shetland dialect to create an inter-textual narrative within the poems – something that she refers to as ‘windows into worlds within worlds within worlds’. Her work also flirts with traditional form and structural constraints. Mundair writes poetry that she says is designed to work on the page as well as to be performed on the stage.

Mundair’s work for theatre is often philosophical and political, engaging and questioning. Recurring themes include loss, faith, loyalty, redemption and compassion.

Read more about Raman Mundair:  Early Life, Poetry, Prose, Plays, Publications, Visual Art