Anthony Thwaite was born in 1930 and died in 2021, aged 90. One of the benefits of starting this festival with the urbane and respected poet George MacBeth was that he brought with him a number of his friends who were senior figures of English poetry. George and Anthony had been friends at Oxford. Anthony was unable to take part in the first festival in 1985 but he came to the second, and eight others, his last being 2015. Besides his Executorship of the Estate of Philip Larkin, his Chairmanship of The Booker Prize Committee (unusual for a poet), his Editorships at The Listener, The New Statesman and Encounter, and his work as a Producer at the BBC, he was one of our most distinguished poets. He was the author of 15 collections of fine and often challenging poetry. After they graduated from Oxford, he and Ann married. They had four daughters: Emily, Caroline, Lucy and Alice. The family moved to Norfolk in 1973. He was a charming and witty companion.
Ann Thwaite is the author of many children's books and five major biographies. She won the Whitbread Biography Award in 1990 for AA Milne, His Life, a new edition of which was published in 2017 to coincide with the issue of the film Goodbye Christopher Robin, for which she was a consultant. She has an Honorary Doctorate from UEA.
Wendy Cope "is without doubt the wittiest of contemporary English poets, and says a lot of extremely serious things” (Dr Rowan Williams). She was awarded an OBE in 2010. Her first collection of poems, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, sold more than most poetsin a lifetime. She has published seven collections of adult poetry.
John Lucas is a distinguished poet, novelist, biographer, publisher and critic. He is Professor Emeritus at the Universities of Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. He is the author of over 40academic and otherworks, and has published seven collections of his own poetry.
Fleur Adcock is a New Zealand poet who has lived in the UK since 1963. She has published 16 collections and won many awards both here and in New Zealand. She has received an OBE, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature and is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Blake Morrison is a poet and author. His first book on The Movement received an Eric Gregory Award. His poems have been rewarded with A Dylan Thomas Award, a Somerset Maugham Award and an EM Forster Award. His memoir, When Did You Last See Your Father?, was made into a successful film.
George Szirtes was born in 1948 in Budapest, and came to England in 1956 as a refugee. His first collection, The Slant Door, was published in 1979, winning the Faber Memorial Prize. He has since won most of the major awards including the TS Eliot Prize for Reel (2005).
André Mangeot’s three collections are Natural Causes (2003), Mixer (2005) and Blood Rain (2020) - described as "pointedly relevant and informed, speaking to the troubles of this age in fiercely effective fashion” (New Welsh Review). He has also published two books of short stories, A Little Javanese (2008) and True North (2010) and written three novels, as yet unpublished, the most recent set in Romania. For over ten years he was a member of the poetry ensemble, The Joy of Six, which performed at many festivals across the UK. He lives in Cambridge and, alongside his writing, works in the charity sector and is a keen distance runner, completing nearly 30 marathons to date.
Jean Boase-Beier is Professor Emerita of Literature and Translation at the University of East Anglia (UEA), where she founded the MA in Literary Translation in 1992. She is Translations Editor of Arc Publications and has produced over thirty titles.Jean is co-editor with Marian de Vooght of the anthology, Poetry of the Holocaust.This includes not only well-known writers such as Paul Celan, but also poetry from a wider range of language and writers, Jewish and others.
Marian de Vooght is a translator and academic.She has received a PEN Award.She is co-editor with Jean Boase-Beier of Poetry of the Holocaust (2019). Her PhD is in Comparative Language from the University of Texas and an MA in Dutch Language and Literature from the University of Nijmegen. She has worked as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex since 2014 and before that at UEA.
Tiffany Atkinson was born in Berlin to an army family. In both 1993 and 1994, she won BBC Radio's Young Poet of the Year competition. She lectured at Aberystwyth University until 2014, and is now Professor in Creative Writing & Poetry at the UEA. Her first collection was Kink and Particle (2006), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and winner of the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. We are delighted that Tiffany brings her fourth collection, Lumen (2021) to King’s Lynn. It addresses how poetry might help us articulate the body in illness, in work, and in love. Lumenwas a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and winner of the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize, and Tiffany was awarded the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry in 2022.
Robert Crawford is a Scottish poet, critic and academic. He is Professor of English at the University of St Andrews. He has published seven collections of poetry. Robert has received an Eric Gregory Award, twicereceived the Scottish Arts Council Book Award for Talkies (1992) and Spirit Machines (1999). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, has been a judge for the TS Eliot Prize and the National Poetry Prize and was a Fellow of the British Academy. He was last with us in 2017 with his collection,Testament, and returns now with the second volume of his magisterial biography of TS Eliot,published this summer, Eliot After The Waste Land.
Lachlan Mackinnon is a poet and the biographer of the novelist Elsa Triolet who was married to Louis Aragon. He has written critical studies of Eliot, Auden and Lowell.His collection, Small Hours (2010), was shortlisted for the Forward prize. He received a Cholmondeley Award in 2011. Doves was published in 2017 and a new collection is imminent.
Sue Burge is a Norfolk-based poet and freelance teacher of writing courses since 2007. Until recently, she taught Creative Writing at UEA for 20 years. She also writes and teaches courses on film, and her pamphlet Lumière was inspired by films set in Paris from 1895 through to the French New Wave directors. Her first full collection, In the Kingdom of Shadows (2018), was shortlisted for the Live Canon First Collection Prize. Sue’s latest collection is The Saltwater Diaries (2020) which explores her relationship with the sea.
Kevin Crossley-Holland is a poet, librettist, translator from Anglo Saxon into Modern English, and a children’s author. He has published twelve collections and won many prizes. His most recent collection is Gravity for Beginners (Arc, 2021). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and was President of the School Library Association. He was awarded the 1985 Carnegie Medal. His King Arthur Trilogy, which won The Guardian Prize, has been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives on the North Norfolk coast and a lot of his poetry has a strong association with Norfolk.
Sarah Mnatzaganian is a prizewinning Anglo-Armenian poet with childhood roots in rural Wiltshire and the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. Her debut pamphlet, Lemonade in the Armenian Quarter, has just been awarded Best Poetry Pamphlet in the 2022 Saboteur Awards. Sarah’s poems have been published in The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Poetry Ireland Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Fenland Poetry Journal, and numerous anthologies. In 2021 she was awarded first prize in the Spelt Poetry Competition and was a winner in the Poetry Society’s Winter 2020 members' competition. Sarah worked as an editor, teacher and freelance journalist before co-founding a cello business with her husband in Ely.