Moniza Alvi is a Pakistani-British poet and writer who was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1954. When she was a few months old, she moved with her Pakistani father and English mother to Hatfield, where she grew up. She studied at the universities of York and London.
Her career was launched in 1991 after winning the Poetry and Business Prize and her first collection, The Country at My Shoulder was published by Oxford University Press in 1993. This was followed by A Bowl of Warm Air three years later. Subsequent work includes Europa (2008) and At the Time of Partition (2013), both nominated for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Alvi won a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry in 2002, and a retrospective collection, Split World: Poems 1990–2005, was published in 2008.
Alvi’s poetry has themes of duality, division, identity and feminism. Her early work was concerned with her homeland, real and imagined, and what it would have been like to have grown up in Pakistan, rather than having left and becoming a different person. It was not until much later that she returned to Pakistan to visit and meet relatives there. In her more recent work, Alvi uses her experiences to ask more expansive and political questions.
After working for many years as a secondary school teacher in London, she is now a freelance writer and tutors for The Poetry School. She lives in Norfolk and has won several acclaimed prizes for her work.