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Poetry At The Print Room

(This is a past event and is no longer running)

Sean O’Brien, Maureen Duffy and Yang Lian.


Sean O’Brien is a master craftsman and his latest collection THE BEAUTIFUL LIBRARIANS confirms this. He is a poet of great range and skill whose sense of social justice runs throughout all his work, infused with a deep knowledge political and literary history. With unshowy erudition he brings to the craft, a polish that sets him apart from most poets writing in Britain today. Sean will read from THE BEAUTIFUL LIBRARIANS, published by Picador and is just out, it is a Poetry Book Society Choice, and is already selected for the TS Eliot prize in 2015.

He is a poet, novelist, playwright, critic, broadcaster, anthologist and editor. He grew up in Hull and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

His first six individual poetry collections were given awards, most recently The Drowned Book (2007), which was the first book to win both the Forward and T S Eliot Prizes. His previous collection NOVEMBER, was shortlisted for the TS Eliot, The Forward, The Costa and The Griffin International Poetry Prizes.  His verse version of the Spanish Golden Age comedy Don Gil of the Green Breeches by Tirso de Molina opened at Bath Theatre Royal in 2013, before transferring to the Arcola, London in 2014.

‘…It is masterly. O’Brien is pitch-perfect, never swanks and is amazingly versatile.’ – Observer


Maureen Duffy will be reading from her seventh collection, Environmental Studies, which was published by Enitharmon in May 2013. It is centred on environments – human, insect and animal – some experienced personally, some observed, some imagined. Though strictly contemporary in her concerns, she reaches back in her poetry to childhood, and beyond that in her imagination to cultural figures of the past – John Donne, Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, bringing them lucidly and vividly to life.

There is a strong sense of compassion and fair play in her poems, reflecting Duffy’s lifelong support for progressive social and political movements, and a beautiful lyricism and technical skill derived from her love of the classical world and Old and Mediaeval English. As so often in her work, London past and present provides the backdrop to her real and imagined life stories: of love and loss, forebears and friends, the humorous and sometimes painful experiences of old age.

Maureen Duffy is the author of 33 published works of fiction, including  7 collections of poetry,  non-fiction, and 16 plays for stage, screen and radio. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of King’s College London, and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature,as well as President of Honour of the British Copyright Council and the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society which last year distributed £30 million to 80,00 authors, and a CISAC gold medallist. She was  awarded a D. Litt by Loughborough University for contributions to literature and equality law reform,and also by the University of Kent.

‘Maureen Duffy deserves serious acclaim as a poet, as much as an original novelist.’ –Elaine Feinstein, The Times


Yang Lian has been one of the most innovative and influential poets in China, before and since his exile.  Widely hailed in America and Europe as a highly individual voice in world literature, he has been translated into more than 25 languages.

Born in Switzerland, Yang Lian grew up in China and now lives in London.  He published 11 volumes of poetry, 2 volumes of prose as well as 1 volume of essays. His representative works including YI, Where the Sea Stands Still; Concentric Circles; Riding Pisces: Poems from Five Collections; Lee Valley Poems… Etc. His latest publication in English was Jade Ladder, an anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry edited by him,W.N. Herbert and others. Among other prizes, he won the International Capri Prize 2014, “Tian Duo” (Heavenly Bell) prize for the  long poem 2013 and Nonino International Literature Prize 2012 (the jury of the prize presided by V S Naipaul), and he has been elected a board member of PEN International PEN in 2008 and 2011. Yang Lian has been invited to become a member of The Norwegian Academy for Literature and Freedom of Expression in 2013.

‘Yang Lian has a westernist, modernist sensibility allied with an ancient Chinese, almost shamanistic one. He can both excite and frighten you – like MacDiarmid meets Rilke with Samurai sword drawn’ WN Herbert, The Scotsman,

‘Yang Lian …… the most important voice of Modern Chinese lyrics.’ ,  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zietung.