Daljit Nagra comes from a Sikh background and was born and grew up in West London then Sheffield. He was the first poet to win the Forward Prize for both his first collection of poetry, in 2007, and for its title poem, Look, We Have Coming to Dover! three years earlier. His subsequent two collections, Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!! and his version of the Ramayana were nominated for the TS Eliot Prize. He is the inaugural Poet in Residence for Radio 4/4 Extra and teaches at Brunel University London.
British Museum is his third collection, following his electrifying version of the epic Ramayana, and marks a significant departure of style to something quieter, more contemplative and inquisitive, at times valedictory. His political edge has been honed in a series of meditations and reflections upon our heritage, our legacy, and the institutions that define them: the BBC, Hadrian’s Wall, the Sikh gurdwaras of our towns, the British Museum of the title poem. With compassion and charisma, Nagra explores the impact of the first wave of mass migration to our shores, the Arab Spring, the allure of extremism along with a series of personal poems about the pressures of growing up in a traditional community. British Museum is a book that asks profound questions of our ethics and responsibilities at a time of great challenge to our sense of national identity.