Mahendra Solanki is a poet and editor, described by David Dabydeen as ‘a genuinely gifted writer’. Since his first collection, Shadows of My Making (Lokamaya Press, 1986), his poetry has appeared in magazines, anthologies and in several other slim volumes. He was born in Nairobi of Indian parents and his work draws on this background to locate his writing. The Lies We Tell (Shoestring Press, 2014) continues this exploration. As an editor, he published debut collections by Ian Parks and Robert Hamberger among others, as well as shaping the work of more established poets such as Catherine Byron and Martin Mooney. His editing experience began with co-editing the literary magazine Other Poetry with Anne Stevenson and others in the 1980s.
Mahendra taught at Nottingham Trent University for 15 years, where he led the undergraduate English and creative-writing programmes. He also directed their MA in writing. He has wide experience of working as a writer for the Arts Council, the Arvon Foundation and the Poetry Society, including a year’s residency with prisoners in a secure unit. More recently, he worked with First Story, whose mission is to ‘place acclaimed authors in challenging situations’, most notably at the Nottingham Children’s Hospital (the first such post in the country) and the Nottingham Academy.
Mahendra is a registered psychotherapist and divides his time between treating patients and working as a freelance writer and tutor. For his next project, he is reading Indian myths, particularly The Mahabharata, with the intention of finding a contemporary language and relevance.