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Appleton, Arthur, unknown, poet

  • Person
  • unknown

Arthur Appleton was born in Sunderland and was working at fourteen first as a chemist shop errand boy and then as an office boy. He began writing in his teens and left his job as a clerk to move to London. His first publication was a poem in the Observer in 1939.

After service in the Royal Engineers in the Middle East, he became a scriptwriter and then programme planner with the Forces Broadcasting Service in Haifu and Jerusalem, and this led to nearly thirty years of work with the BBC in Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol as a reporter and radio producer. He has had a number of radio documentaries broadcast as well as three for television. He had covered football regularly since 1948 mainly for the BBC but also for the press and for the last few years of the Sunday Times. He has written five books on the game, including Hotbed of Soccer published in 1960 by Rupert Hart-Davis. In 1973 Michael Joseph published his Mary Ann Cotton: Her Story and Trial the first full account of the infamous North East poisoner. An adaptation of the book appeared on television.

Armitage, Simon, 1963 - , poet and playwright, CBE

  • Person
  • 1963

Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Huddersfield, England. After studying Geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic, he worked with young offenders before gaining a postgraduate qualification in social work at Manchester University. He worked as a probation officer in Oldham until 1994.

His poetry books include Zoom! (Bloodaxe Books, 1989), Xanadu (Bloodaxe Books, 1992), and later collections published by Faber, including Kid (1992), and CloudCuckooLand (1997). He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1988. Zoom! was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for a Whitbread Poetry Award. He was named 'Most Promising Young Poet' at the inaugural Forward Poetry Prize in 1992, won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 1993, and was Poet in Residence for the New Millennium Experience Company in 1999. Mister Heracles (2000), an adaptation of Euripides' Heracles, was commissioned by the West Yorkshire Playhouse. His Selected Poems was published by Faber in 2001, followed by The Universal Home Doctor (2002) and a new verse adaptation of Homer's Odyssey in 2006.

Simon Armitage has worked extensively in film, radio and television. He wrote and presented Xanadu (1992), a 'poem film for television', broadcast by BBC television as part of the 'Words on Film' series, and his film about the American poet Weldon Kees was broadcast by the BBC in 1993. He also wrote and narrated Saturday Night, a documentary about Leeds, and Drinking for England, both broadcast by the BBC in 1996 as part of the 'Modern Times' series. Moon Country (1996), written with Glyn Maxwell, retraced a visit to Iceland in 1936 by the poets W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice, and was adapted as a six-part series, Second Draft from Saga Land, broadcast by BBC Radio 3. Out of the Blue (2008) collects three pieces written in response to the anniversaries of three conflicts: a film-poem about 9/11; a piece commissioned by Channel 5 for VE Day and a radio poem on Cambodia 30 years after the rise of the Khmer Rouge.

He is also the author of All Points North (1998), a collection of essays about the north of England and Gig (2008), a memoir of a life of music and poetry, and two novels Little Green Man (2001) and White Stuff (2004).

Simon Armitage is currently a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004. His latest collection of poetry is Tyrannosaurus versus the Corduroy Kid (2006).

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