Luke Wright is a performance poet whose live shows are enjoyed by thousands every year. He founded the poetry collective Aisle 16 whilst at the University of East Anglia. He’s a Radio 4 regular and won a prestigious Fringe First Award at The Edinburgh Fringe 2015.
‘One of the funniest and more brilliant poets of his generation’ – Jonathan Hari, The Independent.
I worked for WCN [now the National Centre for Writing] for a couple of years as the Live Literature Co-ordinator but my heart lay in producing work rather than programming and facilitating it. Since leaving the organisation in 2009 I’ve continued to work with WCN on various education projects. They supported me to create my show ‘What I learned from Johnny Bevan’ which won a Fringe First Award.
WCN is a force for good in the world of literature and for Norwich as a whole. I learned a lot about the literature industry from Chris Gribble, who leads WCN, and they have continued to support me in my career.
The story behind ‘What I learned from Johnny Bevan’ didn’t come from a single flash of inspiration. I was rereading Brideshead Revisited (as I do most years when the ditches are “creamy with meadowsweet!”), when it struck me that Sebastian’s plight is indeed tragic, but is perhaps eased by his trust fund. Most of us have somebody from our youth who life has left behind; few of us are the youngest sons of earls.
‘WCN is a force for good in the world of literature and for Norwich as a whole’
Around the same time, I read George Walden’s excellent book on dandyism and Beau Brummell, Who’s a Dandy? Walden asserts that although dandyism for Brummell meant opulence – he had four tailors work on each of his gloves and washed his boots in champagne – the modern dandy is more likely to achieve his style by clever, often ironic approbation of the mass produced. Indeed, I grew up in the 1990s, when Jarvis was king and working-class iconography sold records.
This middle-class obsession with the authenticity of the working classes was something I experienced during my adolescence in leafy north Essex. As I made friends with people from different backgrounds, I was keenly aware of my relatively privileged upbringing. At university, like my protagonist, Nick, I was bewitched by a clever and more worldly-wise ranting poet from London’s East End.