Mimi Khalvati came quite late to poetry after first training at drama school and working in theatre both in the UK and Iran, where she was born in April 1944. It was a script-writing/poetry course at the Arvon Foundation that first ignited her interest and led her to writing her own work. After jointly winning the Smith/Doorstop pamphlet competition in 1989, she was approached by Carcanet to write her first collection of poems In White Ink (1991). Thereafter, Carcanet published a further seven books of her poetry including The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2007, Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and The Weather Wheel, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and a book of the year in The Independent. Her most recent publication in 2017 with Smith/Doorstop sees her work presented with that of Michael Schmidt and Michael Laskey in a triple pamphlet edition: A Very Selected Collection.
Mimi Khalvati also co-founded the Poetry School in 1997 in response to the lack of courses and workshops in poetry writing at the time. Her aim was to create a school available to all regardless of qualifications and background. With support from the Arts Council, the School quickly grew from just one centre in London to several around England. The Poetry School continues to flourish and remains the largest UK provider of poetry education outside the university system.
She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Society.