The head of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, and, latterly, the UK’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy’s regular “And Friends” get-togethers featuring jazz, poetry and conversation in the Royal Exchange Studio are legendary. Following the unprecedented success of 16 sell-out seasons, Carol Ann returns to the host chair, introducing new student writers from her poetry workshop on the Poetry Masters course at Man Met along with, this time round, guest poet Andrew McMillan and special guest Ella Duffy.
Following the unprecedented success of 16 sell-out seasons, Carol Ann returns to the host chair, introducing new student writers, guest poet Andrew McMillan and special guest Ella Duffy
The evening will see Ella Duffy (Carol Ann’s daughter, as it happens) reading from her first pamphlet New Hunger, out on 1 May with Poetry Business. The blurb says: “New Hunger weaves mythology and biology together through subtle poems that link our human bodies to the natural world in both celebration and anxiety as our familiar spaces shift dangerously around us.”
A Foyle Young Poet of the Year, Ella was a finalist in the 2019 Ambit Poetry Competition and commended in the WS Graham challenge on Young Poets Network as part of Graham’s centenary celebrations. A founding member of the Bind Collective of climate change creative, she was a commended poet in the Melting Ice Challenge 2017 and a winner in the Riddle Me This Challenge. Her piece ‘Mantis’ was published last year in The Guardian as part of the Poet Laureate’s Poetry For The Insect Population, which was an artistic response to the collapse in the global insect population, with contributions from the likes of Forward Prize-winner Fiona Benson and Chester Literature Festival Guest Director and Artist in Residence.
Andrew McMillan’s debut collection, physical (Cape, 2015), was the first poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award and it went on to win many other prizes and was voted one of the top 25 poetry books of the past 25 years by the Booksellers Association. His second collection, playtime, also on Cape, won the Polari Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for autumn 2018, a Poetry Book of the Month in both The Observer and The Telegraph, and a Poetry Book of the Year in The Sunday Times. Alan Bennett called it “vivid, accessible and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so” in the London Review of Books. Andrew’s play Dorian, in collaboration with Proper Job Theatre, has just been touring the North and he is also a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School.