News | Tuesday, 20th March 2018

University duo in world’s top 10 ‘must-read women poets’

Poetry Book Society poll features Poet Laureate Prof Dame Carol Ann Duffy and Dr Helen Mort

Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy

Two leading poets from Manchester Metropolitan University have been named in the world’s top 10 ‘women poets to read now’.

The Poetry Book Society’s (PBS) rankings place Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy and Dr Helen Mort – both from the University’s renowned Manchester Writing School – among the top must-read female poets in the world currently.

The list was voted for by social media followers of the PBS accounts, @PoetryBookSoc, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

PBS’s 100 Women Poets list celebrated the diversity of poetry across the globe, highlighting the power of the female voice.

The double ranking serves to reinforce the creative writing excellence across the School, which benefits students’ learning and is a reflection of the literary strength in Manchester, recently designated a UNESCO City of Literature.

Strength in depth

Dr Mort, who joined the University as Lecturer in Creative Writing in 2016, said: “The PBS is one of our foremost contemporary poetry organisations. For two of the University’s poets to be recognised is very special, an affirmation of the depth of quality across the Manchester Writing School.

 “The University is home to both established and emerging writers working together, producing new poetry that interrogates the world we live in. This creative excellence filters directly into the teaching, and positions Manchester Metropolitan as a leading creative writing centre on the international stage.”

As well as her work as an award-winning poet, Dr Mort specialises in an emerging strand of creative writing known as place writing, for which Manchester Metropolitan is a leading hub.

She has published two collections of poetry, has been shortlisted for prestigious literary prizes including the Costa Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize, and was a judge for last year’s International Man Booker Prize.

Dr Helen Mort
Dr Helen Mort

Prof Carol Ann Duffy DBE has been the figurehead for British poetry since her appointment as UK Poet Laureate in 2009. She has countless publications and is Creative Director of the Manchester Writing School, teaching on the poetry route of the masters programme in creative writing.

In her extensive career at Manchester Metropolitan, she has helped steer the Writing School to prominence as one of the UK’s foremost centres for creative writing, created the Manchester Writing Competition and Manchester Children’s Book Festival at the University, and hosts a series of evenings at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, ‘Carol Ann Duffy and Friends’. The popular evenings feature some of the UK’s leading poets, as well as students and graduates from the MFA and MA Creative Writing course who present their work.

Teaching excellence

James Draper, manager of the School, said: “It is no exaggeration to say that Manchester has become an envied hub of creative writing with some of the most innovative, daring and expressive writing emanating from here.

“At the forefront of this is the Manchester Writing School – our lecturers are revered as some of the leading talent in the world, while students and graduates swell the ranks with new publications as their writing careers take flight.”

The Manchester Writing School was established in 1998 within the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan. It has since grown into the country’s largest postgraduate English and creative writing centres.

More than 85 graduates have embarked on publishing careers. Alumni include winners of the Costa First Novel Award, Forward Poetry Prize and Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize, and a long-listing for the Man Booker Prize.

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