Carcanet at 50 (panels and evening event)

Saturday 25 January
National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall
1 - 9.30pm
Free - please book in advance

Join us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carcanet, one of the outstanding independent literary publishers of our time.

We’re delighted to host a day of presentations, discussions and poetry readings, to explore the relationship between publisher and poet over the years; the development of an indie poetry press that has survived half a century, and the state of indie poetry publishing today.  Speakers include Caroline Bird, Mimi Khalvati, Peter Scupham, Neil Astley and Jane Commane.

Now in its fifth decade, Carcanet publishes the most comprehensive and diverse list available of modern and classic poetry in English and in translation, as well as a range of inventive fiction, Lives and Letters and literary criticism. This is an essential day of events for anyone interested in poetry and publishing.

Fully booked!

To join the waiting list for this event please email info@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk

Your free ticket will grant you entry to:

1 – 1.15pm – Welcome & opening remarks

1.15 – 2.15pm – Panel 1: Some of Carcanet’s Core Poets

Featuring Laura Scott, Mimi Khalvati, Caroline Bird, Alison Brackenbury, Philip Terry and Rory Waterman

Chaired by Chris Gribble (National Centre for Writing)

2.15 – 2.45pm – Discussion

2.45 – 3.30pm – Break

3.30 – 4.30pm – Panel 2: Independent poetry publishing today

Featuring Michael Schmidt (Carcanet), Jane Commane (Nine Arches Press), Nathan Hamilton (Boiler House Press), Bridget Shine (Chief Executive of the Independent Publisher’s Guild), and Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books)

Chaired by Sarah Crown (Arts Council England)

4.30 – 5pm – Discussion

5 – 7.30pm – Break

7.30pm – Celebratory readings from Carcanet poets

Join us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carcanet, one of the outstanding independent literary publishers of our time. This evening event will feature readings from poets Sasha Dugdale, Julia Blackburn, Sophie Hannah and Miles Burrows.

Refreshments will be available and the event will be followed by an opportunity to by books and get them signed.


Registration is free but essential. All are welcome to join us for the full day, or to join for the evening reading. There are also Facebook events for the daytime event and the evening event. For any enquiries about the event please email jazmine@carcanet.co.uk or call 01618 348730.

This is the second in a series of celebratory symposia around the UK and Ireland for Carcanet’s Jubilee. Later events will take place in Scotland, at Cardiff University, and at the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

About the speakers

Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy: Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), which were followed by Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy (2012). Staying Human, a fourth anthology in the series, is due from Bloodaxe in 2020. He serves on the board of Ledbury Poetry Festival as a trustee. He was formerly an organiser of Newcastle Literary Festival, and as a director for three years of the Poetry Book Society he was responsible for the addition of poetry in translation to the book club’s remit; he was also a member of the development committee of Cúirt International Literature Festival in Galway, Ireland. Most recently, he guest-edited the Spring 2015 issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, the first all-poetry issue in its 44-year history.

Caroline Bird is an award-winning poet. Her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was 15. Her second collection, Trouble Came to the Turnip, was published in September 2006 to critical acclaim. Watering Can (2009) achieved a ‘Poetry Book Society Recommendation’ and her fourth collection, The Hat-Stand Union, (2013) was described by Simon Armitage as ‘spring-loaded, funny, sad and deadly.’ She won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was short-listed for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001. She was short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at London Olympics 2012. Her poem, The Fun Palace, which celebrates the life and work of Joan Littlewood, is still erected on the Olympic Site outside the main stadium. She is also a playwright. Her new version of The Trojan Women premiered at the Gate Theatre in 2012. Her original play, Chamber Piece, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize 2014, and toured as part of Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre season. In 2013, she was short-listed for Most Promising New Playwright at the Off-West-End Awards. She wrote a radical new adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for Northern Stage in 2015. She is currently writing the book and lyrics for Dennis the Menace The Musical for the Old Vic.

Julia Blackburn was born in London in 1948 to the poet Thomas Blackburn and the painter Rosalie de Meri – she wrote on the topic of her unconventional upbringing in her memoir The Three of Us. She lives between Suffolk and Northern Italy. For Carcanet she has edited the Selected Poems of Thomas Blackburn, and is the author of The Woman Who Always Loved Picasso (2019), with illustrations by Jeff Fisher.

Alison Brackenbury was born in 1953. Her work has won an Eric Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Award. Her poems have frequently been broadcast on BBC Radio. One poem recently gatecrashed Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the Week’. Carcanet have published nine collections of her poetry. Her Selected Poems, Gallop, were published in 2019. Alison is startled and grateful to realise that she has now been a Carcanet poet for almost forty years.

Miles Burrows studied at Charterhouse and Wadham College Oxford. He read Russian in National Service, then Classics and Medicine. He worked as travel and fiction reviewer at the New Statesman and his poems appeared on radio and television. His first collection, A Vulture’s Egg, was published by Cape and reviewed by John Carey. His work has been anthologised in British Poetry since 1945 (Penguin: ed. Lucie-Smith) and in Best Poems of the Year 2012 (Forward). He is a regular contributor to TLSPoetry Review, and PN Review. He has worked as a doctor in New Guinea, Thailand, and Haverhill. He lives in Cambridge.

Jane Commane’s debut collection, Assembly Lines, was published by Bloodaxe in 2018, and longlisted for the 2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize. Her poetry has featured in The Best British Poetry 2011 (Salt Publishing) and the Guardian. In 2016, she was selected for Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 writer development programme, and awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2017. Jane is editor at Nine Arches Press, and co-author (with Jo Bell) of How to Be a Poet.

Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and playwright. She has published four collections of poetry with Carcanet, NotebookThe EstateRed House and Joy, which was winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Winter Choice Award, and its title poem, ‘Joy’, won the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. In 2017 she was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize. Between 2012 and 2017 she was editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. She is co-director of the Winchester Poetry Festival.

Chris Gribble is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing. Chris led Norwich’s bid to become England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012 and the £2.1m capital programme to develop a new home for NCW at the medieval Dragon Hall in the heart of Norwich. After completing a PhD at the University of Manchester, Chris worked in publishing for Carcanet Press, then the cultural sector and was the Director of Manchester Poetry Festival and then Manchester Literature Festival. He is Chair of the International Cities of Refuge Network, a network of over 70 cities offering long term temporary residencies to artists and writers at risk. He sits on the Boards of Carcanet Press and Modern Poetry in Translation and is a member of the New Anglia LEP Culture Board and the New Anglia LEP Skills Advisory Panel and is an advisor to the Liverpool John Moores University Institute of Literature, Creative Writing and Cultural History. He is a Fellow of the RSA and was a member of the 2019 UK Poet Laureate appointment panel.

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 32 languages and 51 territories. In 2014, with the blessing of Agatha Christie’s family and estate, Sophie published a new Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, which was a bestseller in more than fifteen countries. She has since published two more Poirot novels, Closed Casket and The Mystery of Three Quarters, both of which were instant Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. Sophie has also published two short story collections and five collections of poetry – the fifth of which, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award.

Mimi Khalvati has published nine collections with Carcanet Press, including Child: New & Selected Poems, a Poetry Book Society Special, Commendation, and The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She is the founder of The Poetry School, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of The English Society and her awards include a Cholmondeley Award and a major Arts Council Writer’s Award. Her most recent collection, Afterwardness, is a Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card.

Laura Scott was born in London and now lives in Norwich. Her pamphlet, What I Saw, won the Michael Marks Prize in 2014, and in 2015 she won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Her poems have appeared in various magazines including PN Review, Oxford Poetry and Poetry Review, and a selection of her work was featured in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII in 2018.

Michael Schmidt FRSL, poet, scholar, critic and translator, was born in Mexico in 1947; he studied at Harvard and at Wadham College, Oxford, before settling in England. Among his many publications are several collections of poems and a novel, The Colonist (1981), about a boy’s childhood in Mexico. He is general editor of PN Review and founder as well as managing director of Carcanet Press. He lives in Manchester.

Peter Scupham was born in Liverpool in 1933. With John Mole he founded The Mandeville Press and now lectures, writes, and runs Mermaid Books, a second-hand book business in Norfolk. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His Collected Poems was published by Carcanet Press in 2002.

Bridget Shine is chief executive of the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG), a flourishing trade association with more than 650 members from all areas of publishing, including trade, children’s, education, academic, professional and specialist sectors. Members range in size from one-person start-ups to long-established international companies, and have a combined annual publishing turnover of more than £1bn. The IPG provides resources and events to help its members become better businesses and publishers. Since joining in 2004, Bridget has led a doubling of the IPG’s membership and numerous initiatives including the launch of a Skills Hub of training and professional development resources, the annual Independent Publishing Awards, a mentoring programme and new Special Interest Groups. Before joining the IPG, Bridget worked for both large and small publishers, as well as in literary agenting and at the Welsh Books Council.

Philip Terry was born in Belfast, and is a poet, translator, and a writer of fiction.  He has translated the work of Georges Perec, Stéphane Mallarmé and Raymond Queneau, and is the author of the novel tapestry, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. His poetry volumes include Oulipoems, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Dante’s Inferno (a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, London Review Bookshop Book of the Week, and recipient of a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship Prize), Quennets, and Dictator, a version of the Epic of Gilgamesh in GlobishHe is currently translating Ice Age signs from the caves at Lascaux. The Penguin Book of Oulipo, which he edited, appeared in 2019.

Rory Waterman was born in Belfast in 1981, grew up in rural Lincolnshire, and lives in Nottingham, where he is Senior Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University. His first collection of poetry, Tonight the Summer’s Over, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize. He is also the editor of W.H. Davies, The True Traveller.

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January 25, 2020 7:30 pm January 25, 2020 7:30 pm Europe/London Carcanet at 50 (panels and evening event) Writers' Centre Norwich –

Join us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carcanet, one of the outstanding independent literary publishers of our time. We’re delighted to host a day of presentations, discussions and poetry readings, to explore the relationship between publisher and poet over the years; the development of an indie poetry press that has survived half a century, […]

National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall Writers Centre Norwich