Mona Arshi was born to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London and grew up in Hounslow.
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 acted on many high profile judicial review cases including Diane Pretty’s ‘right to die’ case, asylum destitution cases and death in custody cases.
She began writing poetry in 2008 and attended a number of short writing courses. She then began a masters in Creative Writing (Poetry strand) at the University of East Anglia in 2010. She was tutored by George Szirtes and Lavinia Greenlaw and Moniza Alvi.
Mona’s poem Hummingbird won first prize in the Magma Magazine poetry competition in 2012. She also was one of the Competition winners for the World Events Young Artists Festival in September 2012. She was also an award winner in the Troubadour International Competition for her poem ‘Bad day in the Office’. In 2014, she was joint winner of the Manchester Creative Writing Competition.
A portfolio of her poems appeared in TEN-THE NEW WAVE (edited by Karen Macarthy-Woolf) in 2014 by Bloodaxe books.
Mona’s poetry has been published widely in magazines including Poetry Review, Magma, Rialto and the Sunday Times.
She has read her poems at many venues in London including the Troubadour, the London Review of Books as well as the Southbank. She has also performed at festivals in the UK including Ledbury and Bridlington.