Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Great Britain’s poet laureate in residence at Zell Writers Series

Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate of Great Britain, will be the Zell Visiting Writers Series’ writer in residence Jan. 11-15.

Duffy’s residency is the opening event of the Winter 2010 Zell series. She will read her poetry Monday at 5:10 p.m. in the Helmut Stern Auditorium of the U-M Museum of Art. She will give a lecture titled “Christmas, and Other Stories” on Jan. 14 at the same time and place.

Appointed in 2009, Duffy is the first woman named to the position, which is a royal post awarded to a poet whose verse is considered to be of national significance. She is preceded by Andrew Motion and Ted Hughes, as well as Ben Jonson, William Wordsworth, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Contrary to popular belief, the poet laureate is not required to write occasional poems for the state or the monarch. It is true, however, that the poet laureate is awarded a cask of sherry.

“Rapture,” Duffy’s most recent book, is a linked collection of poems, a narrative about a lover and the insouciant object of that love. One critic described it as “intimate as a diary”; another wrote: “I read it on the tube, and missed my station.” In “Rapture,” Duffy uses the wit and wordplay, repetition and reference to surprise and persuade readers. “Rapture” was awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2005.

Duffy lives in Manchester, England, where she is professor and creative director of The Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The 2010 Zell winter series also includes:

• Joshua Ferris, author of “Then We Came to the End,” a finalist for the National Book Award.

• Adam Haslett, whose story collection “You Are Not a Stranger Here” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

• Ron Carlson, whose fiction routinely appears in publications such as Harper’s, the New Yorker, Playboy, GQ and Best American Short Stories.

• Yiyun Li, whose story collection “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Guardian First Book Award and California Book Award for first fiction.

Details of Zell Visiting Writers Series events can be found at the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing Web site.

The series is curated by the MFA Creative Writing Program and sponsored by the Department of English Language and Literature, the Office of the Provost, and Helen Zell. Carol Ann Duffy’s residency also is sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and the Lesbian, Gay, Queer Research Initiative.