Chairperson: Peter Sirr

‘Michael Longley is a lyric poet with perfect pitch.'  The Times

‘An original, affecting book; her finest to date.’ The Independent on Jo Shapcott’s Of Mutability

Poetry – at its most resonant – is an act of transformation. This event brings together two award-winning poets whose works embody this literary alchemy.

The publication of a new Michael Longley collection is always a major literary event. Here the Whitbread and TS Eliot Prize-winner returns with A Hundred Doors, his first collection in six years. There are recurrent themes in Longley’s work – the natural world, war, love and death – but the forms and genres never stand still, as these new poems attest, each protean vision rendered anew with the precision and delicacy of a master craftsman.
From her 1988 debut Electroplasticity to the recent Costa-winning Of Mutability, Jo Shapcott’s work has explored the nature of change. In this latest collection, she turns the focus of her attention inwards, to her own emotional metamorphosis in the wake of her diagnosis of breast cancer back in 2003 – 'it was like being reborn as someone slightly different’. The result is a deeply engaging meditation on mortality and creativity itself.