Daljit Nagra (b. 1966) 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 second collection, Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! (Faber and Faber, 2011) was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and was the Guardian and The Independent’s Book of the Year. His third collection, Ramayana (Faber and Faber, 2014) is a retelling of the ancient Indian myth about Rama’s quest to recover his wife Sita from her abduction by Raavana, the Lord of the Underworld.
Nagra was born and raised in West London, then Sheffield. He currently lives in Harrow with his wife and daughters and works in a secondary school. In 2014 he was named a Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society.
Nagra’s first collection gained a lot of media attention for its brilliant and irreverent exploration of the experience of British-born Indians. Driven by the energies of this culture clash, his poetry often employs ‘Punglish’ – English spoken by Indian Punjabi immigrants. He is as concerned with British-ness as Asian-ness, especially the points where these two conditions collide. While dealing with serious issues, including the racism he experienced growing up, the poems are characteristically upbeat, charming and humorous, with a formal dexterity as inventive as his language.