Poet Simon Armitage to give charity reading at Keele


Credit: Paul Wolfgang Webster

Simon Armitage (photo: Paul Wolfgang Webster)

Posted on 13 September 2012

A top writer will take his audience on a journey during a charity reading as part of Keele University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. 

In his new bestselling memoir Walking Home (2012), Simon Armitage describes travelling the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour, without a penny in his pocket, after asking via his website for board and lodging in return for giving poetry readings en route in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms.

His challenging itinerary was drawn up by former Keele University tutor Caroline Hawkridge, who teaches the Keele Poets at Silverdale Library, and this reading is part of his “payment” to her.

Caroline said, “Simon offered to pay me with money, but I asked for something priceless: his handwritten poetry. I was thrilled when he suggested a reading into the bargain and Keele University very kindly agreed to host it."

"Simon’s walk gave a national profile to questions of the value of poetry, so we were delighted when Caroline approached us about celebrating poetry during Keele’s 50th Anniversary Charter Year,” said Professor Susan Bruce, Head of the School of Humanities, which offers an MA in Creative Writing, as well as a writing summer school.

Born in West Yorkshire, Simon Armitage is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004 and awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010. A recipient of numerous prizes and awards, he has published 10 collections of poetry, including Selected Poems (2001), Seeing Stars (2010), his acclaimed translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007) and The Death of King Arthur (2012), and also writes extensively for television and radio.

The proceeds from the event, which will include film footage and readings from Walking Home and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, will go to a charity close to Caroline’s heart, the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity, which supports women with breast cancer.

Books will be available to purchase and Simon will be able to sign them after the reading.

The reading will take place on Wednesday, October 17, at 7.30pm in the Westminster Theatre in the Chancellor’s Building on campus. Tickets cost £5 each (£2.50 concessions) and can be bought from the Chancellor’s Building reception Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or by telephone 01782 734127.