UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy – the first woman to hold the post in its illustrious 400-year history – will visit Londonderry next week to give two readings as part of the City of Culture’s literature programme.
The Glasgow-born author, a professor of poetry at Manchester’s Metropolitan University, will first read from some of her much-loved work for children at the Waterside Theatre on October 5, alongside her long-time collaborator, actor and musician John Sampson.
The two will then again perform at St Cecilia’s College, delving further into her Duffy’s poetry which has been lauded for its marriage of “tenderness and toughness, humour and lyricism” and deft explorations of a wide reach of themes such as love, memory, gender and oppression.
Duffy prides herself on taking poetry out of ivory towers and elitist circles in order to bring it to a wider, democratic audience; she is one of the best-selling poets in the UK. Since her appointment as poet laureate in 2009 she has tackled subjects such as the MPs expenses scandal, climate change and the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
The poet has said of her work that she likes to use “simple words, but in a complicated way”, and her verse is often laden with surreal imagery.
The Scottish writer, who has also published plays, has written numerous award-winning poetry collections including Standing Female Nude (1985), Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award, Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and Rapture (2005), which scooped the prestigious TS Eliot Prize.
Duffy’s Londonderry readings have been organised by Yes! Publications and the Guildhall Press, in tandem with the Derry Writers Group and Culture Company 2013.
Her visit will coincide with that of Londonderry poet Colette Bryce who will read from her work and hold poetry workshops at the Verbal Arts Centre on October 3.
Bryce has published three collections with Picador, The Heel of Bernadette (2000), The Full Indian Rope Trick (2004) and Self-Portrait in the Dark (2008). Colette’s reading will be her first in her home city for many years.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Eamonn Baker said: “Carol Ann Duffy’s work is so well received by both adults and children alike, and I have no doubt she will enjoy a warm welcome on her visit here.”
Tickets for Carol Ann Duffy’s reading at Waterside Theatre can be booked free on 02871 31400. Tickets for the St Cecilia’s event are available via the Millennium Forum box office on 02871 264455.