April update

Salam! I have been working on some exciting projects recently. I’m delighted to be working with the Poetry Society and the Canal and Rivers Trust on a poem, working with community groups, to be displayed on the stretch of river between Sheffield and Tinsley. It’s given me ample excuses for lovely walks along this stretch of cancel recently and I’m looking forward to working with people soon. I’m even hoping to take a group on a boat with Mariam Shah at the helm!

I’ve also just finished a wonderful Mixing Roots programme with Hive. Honoured to have worked with a lovely group of talented young women from schools across Sheffield. Thanks to Hive and Vicky, for always championing and supporting the project. It would never have happened without you. Thanks to Alex Mason and Ed Poole at the University of Sheffield, and Chaucer, Silverdale, King Edwards and Handsworth Grange secondary schools.

I’m currently working on a commission for Off the Shelf Festival of Words. More soon!

Women Poets’ Prize!

Just a quick update to say… I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to be one of the three poets who have won the Women Poets’ Prize 2020 with the Rebecca Swift Foundation. I want to say – thank you to the wonderful judges Liz Berry, Pascale Petit and Malika Booker, and the team at RSF including Aki and Victoria. This is really a special thing for me and I’m particularly honoured that it’s an award for women created by women. I’m looking forward to the year ahead! 

Congratulations to all the long and shortlist and fellow winners Alisha Dietzman and Natalie Linh Bolderston. But also to all the women who entered – it’s an act of courage to put ourselves out there! Liz’s introduction was really lovely (below).

Warda xx

“It is heart-lifting to know that women are making such tender, ambitious and thrilling work, and the world of poetry is moving forwards in such capable, exciting hands. I’m so pleased to be announcing the name of our first winner, Warda Yassin. We greatly admired Warda’s poems, the lyrical grace, the clarity and vivid image-making. And we also loved the work she was doing with young women writers in her community, and through her work as a teacher. Sometimes when you lift a poet, you know in turn they will be lifting others, and that feels such a beautiful gift to pass on. So, many congratulations Warda, we’re all delighted for you and know you’re going to shine so brightly.”

Off the Shelf Festival of Words 2020

It’s a very busy few weeks! I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of Sheffield’s amazing annual Off the Shelf Festival of Words in October and what a fab set of experiences.

I supported Simon Armitage at my very first poetry drive-in event! It felt like there were fireflies everywhere whenever people flashed their light – so that was lovely and rather beautiful!

It was really special to go to a live poetry event after months of online events and to see people – even if they were in cars!

My next event was a bit more personal – Live with the Laureate with Otis Mensah and Magid Magid, where I was handed the baton of Sheffield Poet Laureate!!

It’s such an incredible honour. I’m really keen to do more work around supporting young people like the Mixing Roots project I’m running with Hive. And in supporting Hive who’ve supported me so much. We are currently looking for sponsorship, or support from partners, to carry on the project, so if anyone wants to get in touch in either of these ways, please do!

I love Sheffield and so much poetic work is centred in this city which holds so many memories, moments, landmarks and places for my family and I. It’s really something of an honour to represent that as a poet.

It was a very chill and warm environment with many close ones in attendance. Deffo a tonight I’ll hold onto for ages! I cannot wait to see what the next two years bring inshallah.

I’ve included below some lovely words from Amber O’Connor who kindly reviewed the event: here 

Best night,
Warda xx

Following the evening’s conversation, Warda also shared her poetry with the audience. She adopted a more tranquil reading style than that of her Laureate predecessor, but one that nonetheless complimented her work. Modest in her brilliance, Warda softly but assuredly performed her poetry, which can be characterised by its vision. Warda’s poems, which often take the personal as their scope, speak to truths the audience likely already knew but had not thought to articulate. As Otis remarked, Warda can “readily encapsulate life”, which he hopes will connect with people in Sheffield and make them “feel less alone”, when they engage with her work.

To read Warda is to be confronted with themes of family and love, but to hear her speak about her work is to fully recognise how much emphasis she places on human connection, which positions her well for this position in the community. Warda’s love of poetry, as well as her love of Sheffield, was obvious in her discussion of the significance poetry has in the lives of the local school children she teaches, and her repeated references to her family and friends, to her life rooted in Sheffield. Touchingly, many of her readings were also interspersed with messages of thanks to those who have supported her, including several local arts organisations. For Warda, poetry evidently acts as a tool to unite and inspire people, both of which are needed now more than ever in light of the pandemic.

Here are a selection of great photos courtesy of Timm Cleasby


Shortlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize

So…I am absolutely delighted and excited to announce I have been shortlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize! Thank you to the wonderful judges Liz Berry, Pascal Petite, and Malika Booker and to the Rebecca Swift Foundation for this incredible honour.  Congratulations to all amazing poets on the shortlist! More details here.

Warda xx


As-salamu alaykum

Well, here it is… Finally, I have a website! And this is my first blog post! I will post upcoming events and happenings here from time to time.

In terms of what I’m up to soon, I’m excited to be doing several events at Off the Shelf Festival of Words. I can’t believe I’ll be reading with Simon Armitage later this eve! And tomorrow on 12th, I’m thrilled to be in conversation with Sheffield ex-lord mayor Magid Magid and Sheffield’s currently Poet Laureate Otis Mensah.

And really amazingly… that’s when I will be handed the role from Otis Mensah of… Poet Laureate of Sheffield for the next two years inshallah! I can’t wait for all this might bring and look forward to updating via this site.

More soon. Meanwhile, thanks for visiting my site 🙂 For more about my Off the Shelf events, visit Hive