Paul farley

Paul Farley FRSL (born 1965) is a British poet, writer and broadcaster.

Life and work

Farley was born in Liverpool. He studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art, and has lived in London, Brighton and Cumbria. His first collection of poetry, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1998) won a Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection) in 1998, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. The book also gained him the Somerset Maugham Award, and in 1999 he won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. From 2000-2002 he was the poet-in-residence at the Wordsworth Trust[1] in Grasmere.

His second collection, The Ice Age (2002), received the Whitbread Poetry Award. In 2004, Paul Farley was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation poets. His third collection, Tramp in Flames, was published in 2006, a poem from which, ‘Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second’,[2] was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem. The same year he also published a study of Terence Davies’s film Distant Voices, Still Lives. In 2007 he edited a selection of John Clare for Faber'sPoet to Poet series. He has also written a great deal for radio, and often writes more widely on art and literature.

As a broadcaster he has made many arts, features and documentary programmes for radio and television, as well as original radio dramas, and his poems for radio are collected in Field Recordings:BBC Poems 1998-2000. He makes regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review, Front Row and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. His book, Edgelands, a non-fiction journey into England’s overlooked wilderness (co-authored with Michael Symmons Roberts) was published by Jonathan Cape in 2011; it received the Royal Society of Literature’s Jerwood Award, the Foyles Best Book of Ideas Award 2012 and was serialised as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. His most recent collection is The Dark Film, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice in 2012.

In 2009 he received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.[3] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature[4] in 2012.

He currently lives in north Lancashire and is Professor of Poetry at Lancaster University.[5]


  • 1996 Observer/Arvon International Poetry Competition
  • 1997 Geoffrey Dearmer Memorial Prize
  • 1998 Forward Prize for Best First Collection
  • 1999 Whitbread Poetry Award (shortlist)
  • 1999 Somerset Maugham Award
  • 1999 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year
  • 2000 Arts Council Writer’s Award
  • 2002 Poetry Book Society Choice
  • 2002 Whitbread Poetry Award
  • 2003 T.S. Eliot Prize (shortlist)
  • 2005 Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem
  • 2007 Griffin International Poetry Prize (shortlist)
  • 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize (shortlist)
  • 2009 Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction
  • 2009 E.M. Forster Award (American Academy of Arts & Letters)
  • 2009 Travelling Scholarship of the Society of Authors
  • 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry (shortlist)
  • 2012 Poetry Book Society Choice
  • 2012 Foyles Best Book of Ideas
  • 2012 The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize (shortlist)
  • 2012 T S Eliot Prize, shortlist, The Dark Film [6]



As Editor

Selected Broadcast

  • Strange Meetings: Wilfred Owen BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2006
  • Auden: Six Unexpected Days BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2007
  • Why Birds Sing BBC4 Television: February 2007
  • A Poet’s Song BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2008
  • The Larkin Tapes BBC Radio 4: The Archive Hour, 2008
  • The Lament of Swordy Well BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2008
  • Children of the Whitsun Weddings BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2009
  • A Poet’s Guide to Britain BBC4 Television: May 2009
  • Rude Britannia BBC4, BBC2 Television: June 2010
  • The Electric Poly-Olbion BBC Radio 4: Poetry Feature, 2010
  • Lunch Poems: Frank O’Hara BBC Radio 4: Poetry Feature 2010
  • Edgelands BBC Radio 4: Book of the Week, 2011
  • The Sleep Diaries BBC Radio 4: five-part series, 2011
  • Dee BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2012
  • Night Visions BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2012
  • The Person From Porlock BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2012

Radio Drama

  • When Louis Met George BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2003
  • The English Civil War BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2004
  • The World in Your Ear BBC Radio 4: The Friday Play, 2006
  • Hide BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2007
  • Inside the Bonfire BBC Radio 4: From Fact to Fiction, 2010
  • The Switch-Off Personality BBC Radio 4: Stories (Bath Festival 2011)


External links

  • British Council -- Contemporary Writers: Paul Farley
  • Poetry Archive--Profile, including audio clips
  • Griffin Poetry Prize biography, including video clip
  • Keynote speech at the 2008 Griffin Poetry Prize awards gala, including video clips
  • Granta 102: The New Nature Writing
  • The Guardian: In conversation: Mark Haddon and Paul Farley
  • 57 Productions: Interview
  • 57 Productions: Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second
  • Intelligent Life: Interview
  • The Observer: Once upon a life

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