Robert Adamson was born in Sydney in 1943 and grew up in Neutral Bay and on the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales. From 1970 to 1985 he edited Australia’s New Poetry magazine, and in 1988, with Juno Gemes, he established Paper Bark Press, one of Australia’s leading poetry publishers. He is the inaugural CAL chair of poetry at UTS (University of Technology, Sydney). In 2011 he was awarded the Patrick White Prize and the Blake Prize for Poetry. His many award-winning publications include an autobiography, Inside Out (2004), two books of autobiographical fiction, and nearly 20 books of poetry, including Reading the River: Selected Poems (2004) and The Kingfisher’s Soul (2009) from Bloodaxe. His latest Australian publication is The Golden Bird: New & Selected Poems (Black Inc, 2008).
Fleur Adcock writes about men and women, childhood, identity, roots and rootlessness, memory and loss, animals and dreams, as well as our interactions with nature and place. Her poised, ironic poems are remarkable for their wry wit, conversational tone and psychological insight, unmasking the deceptions of love or unravelling family lives.
Born in New Zealand in 1934, she spent the war years in England, returning with her family to New Zealand in 1947. She emigrated to Britain in 1963, working as a librarian in London until 1979. In 1977-78 she was writer-in-residence at Charlotte Mason College of Education, Ambleside. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1979-81, living in Newcastle, becoming a freelance writer after her return to London. She received an OBE in 1996, and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006 for Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe, 2000).
Fleur Adcock published three pamphlets with Bloodaxe: Below Loughrigg (1979), Hotspur (1986) and Meeting the Comet (1988), as well as her translations of medieval Latin lyrics, The Virgin & the Nightingale (1983). All her collections were then published by Oxford University Press until they shut down their poetry list in 1999, after which Bloodaxe published her collected poems Poems 1960-2000 (2000), followed by Dragon Talk (2010) and Glass Wings (2013). Poems 1960-2000 is a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation and Glass Wings is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
Poet, performer, anthologist, John Agard was born in Guyana and came to Britain in 1977. His many books include six collections from Bloodaxe, From the Devil’s Pulpit (1997), Weblines (2000), We Brits (2006), Alternative Anthem: Selected Poems (2009), Clever Backbone (2009), and Travel Light Travel Dark (2013). He is the winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry for 2012, presented to him by The Queen on 12 March 2013.
He won the Casa de las Américas Prize in 1982, a Paul Hamlyn Award in 1997, and a Cholmondeley Award in 2004. We Brits was shortlisted for the 2007 Decibel Writer of the Year Award, and he has won the Guyana Prize twice, for his From the Devil's Pulpit and Weblines.
As a touring speaker with the Commonwealth Institute, he visited nearly 2000 schools promoting Caribbean culture and poetry, and has performed on television and around the world. In 1989 he became the first Writer in Residence at London’s South Bank Centre, who published A Stone’s Throw from Embankment, a collection written during that residency. In 1998 he was writer-in-residence for the BBC with the Windrush project, and Bard at the Beeb, a selection of poems written during that residency, was published by BBC Learning Support. He was writer in residence at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in 2007.
He is popular writer for children and younger readers, with titles including Get Back Pimple (Viking), Laughter is an Egg (Puffin), Grandfather’s Old Bruk-a-down Car (Red Fox), I Din Do Nuttin (Red Fox), Points of View with Professor Peekaboo (Bodley Head) and We Animals Would Like a Word with You (Bodley Head), which won a Smarties Award. Einstein, The Girl Who Hated Maths, a collection inspired by mathematics, and Hello H2O, a collection inspired by science, were published by Hodder Children’s Books and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books published his recent titles The Young Inferno (2008), his retelling of Dante, also illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, which won the CLPE Poetry Award 2009, and Goldilocks on CCTV (2011). His anthology Hello New (2000), published by Orchard Books, was chosen by the Poetry Society as its Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Best Anthology.
He collaborated with Bob Cattell on Butter-Finger (Frances Lincoln, 2005) and Shine On, Butter-Finger (Frances Lincoln, 2007), two cricket novels for children to which he contributed calypso cricket poems. He has also written plays. He lives with the poet Grace Nichols and family in Lewes in East Sussex, and they received the CLPE Poetry Award 2003 for their children's anthology Under the Moon and Over the Sea (Walker Books).