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The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme

This programme allows suitably qualified writers to spend up to a year at Birkbeck. During this time, the Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence will work on a book or series of articles on a political theme aimed at a broad readership. He or she will also be expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the Department of Politics.

This is an unpaid position, but the Writer in Residence will receive access to computing facilities, the library and office space. Mentoring from members of the Department of Politics will also be provided, where appropriate.


  • The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence for 2020-2021 is Jaspreet Kaur.
  • Jaspreet, better known as Behind the Netra for her poetry, is an award-winning Spoken Word Poet from East London with an academic background in History and Gender Studies. She has spent the last five years teaching History and Sociology in secondary schools across London. Her poetic works focus on themes such as gender inequality, mental health stigma and the postcolonial immigrant experience.
  • Jaspreet actively works with national governments, corporations and charities alike, such as TED, the UN and women’s networks across the UK, using her poetry and writing to inspire and drive social change. Her TED talk, 'How Poetry Saved My Life' is one of many examples of this.
  • She is also an avid humanitarian and is an ambassador for Binti International and Time to Change. Jaspreet is currently working on her first book, a narrative non-fiction exploring what it means to be a Brown, British Feminist in this new decade.
  • Jaspreet's Twitter feed
  • Jaspreet's Instagram account
  • Jaspreet's 'Behind the Netra' website

Past Writers in residence

Ben Pimlott

  • The Ben Pimlott Writer in Residence Programme is named in honour of the late Ben Pimlott, who was Professor of Politics at Birkbeck between 1981 and 1998. Highly regarded for his research on British politics, the Labour Party and the trade union movement, he also wrote widely read biographies of Queen Elizabeth, Hugh Dalton and Harold Wilson. Naming the programme after Ben Pimlott is a tribute not only to his time at Birkbeck but also his commitment to, and passion for, fine political writing.

Join the programme

  • If you are interested in participating in the programme, please contact or . You should have a strong track record as a writer, a specific writing project in mind and a clear rationale for wanting to join the programme.