Every year, BridLit just seems to get better and better, with speakers to suit all tastes, from well-known writers to lesser-known gems.
One of the big names this year is Poet Laureate Simon Armitage whose BridLit appearance is scheduled for Sunday 3 November.
Armitage is the UK’s 21st Poet Laureate, following in the footsteps of William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Betjeman and Ted Hughes.
He’s known and respected across the world for his witty and profound take on modern life. A Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds, Armitage has published 28 collections of poetry. His work has been studied by millions of children as part of the national curriculum and in 2010 he received a CBE for services to poetry.
Says Armitage: “Ever since my earliest encounters with poetry I always believed it had the persuasive power to operate beyond the printed page and away from traditional literary environments.”
His latest collection of poetry is Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic (Faber, £16.99), applauded by his Poet Laureate predecessor Dame Carol Ann Duffy for being ‘boundary-breaking . . . poems of emotional weight and musical grace from the fabric of our everyday lives.’
The Telegraph describes the collection as ‘most enjoyable’.
Says reviewer Tristam Fane Saunders: “It’s a grab-bag of work commissioned for ‘non-literary spaces’: TV, radio, festivals, art exhibitions and a rock gig. There are poems written to be carved on Pennine stones, shouldering ‘the brunt of the world’.
“There’s even ‘the world’s first catalytic poem’, which appeared on a giant pollution-extracting block in Sheffield. If the laureate’s role is to bring poetry to the public, this is a rock-solid CV, proof of his tireless productivity.”
The Evening Standard reviewer speaks of how ‘these poems come alive off the page’.
Says David Sexton: “His work is widely studied in schools and he has long been a tireless advocate for the art.
“Unlike some such advocates he writes well too. His poetry takes on the line of Larkin without being hopelessly indebted to it. He moves both to laughter and to tears, as I can testify, having embarrassed myself reading this book in a queue of film critics this week.”