Paul Farley

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Paul Farley, FRSL (born 1965) is a British poet, writer and broadcaster.

Life and work[edit]

Farley was born in Liverpool. He studied painting at the Chelsea School of Art, and has lived in London, Brighton and Cumbria. His first collection of poetry, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1998) won a Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection) in 1998, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. The book also gained him the Somerset Maugham Award,[citation needed] and in 1999 he won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.[citation needed] From 2000-2002 he was the poet-in-residence at the Wordsworth Trust[1] in Grasmere.

His second collection, The Ice Age (2002), received the Whitbread Poetry Award.[citation needed] In 2004, Farley was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation poets.[citation needed] His third collection, Tramp in Flames, was published in 2006, a poem from which, ‘Liverpool Disappears for a Billionth of a Second’, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem.[2] The same year he also published a study of Terence Davies' film, Distant Voices, Still Lives. In 2007 he edited a selection of John Clare for Faber's Poet to Poet series. He has also written a great deal for radio, and often writes more widely on art and literature.[citation needed]

As a broadcaster he has made many arts, features and documentary programmes for radio and television, as well as original radio dramas, and his poems for radio are collected in Field Recordings:BBC Poems 1998-2000. He makes regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review, Front Row and BBC Radio 3's The Verb. His book, Edgelands, a non-fiction journey into England’s overlooked wilderness (co-authored with Michael Symmons Roberts) was published by Jonathan Cape in 2011; it received the Royal Society of Literature’s Jerwood Award,[citation needed] the Foyles Best Book of Ideas Award 2012[citation needed] and was serialised as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.[citation needed] His most recent collection is The Dark Film, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice in 2012. In 2009 he received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters.[3] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature[4] in 2012.

He currently lives in Lancashire and is Professor of Poetry at Lancaster University.[5]

His anthology The Mizzy has been shortlisted for the 2019 Costa poetry award.[6]




  • The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (London: Picador, 1998) ISBN 978-0-330-35481-3
  • The Ice Age (London: Picador, 2002) ISBN 978-0-330-48453-4
  • Distant Voices, Still Lives (London: British Film Institute, 2006) (about the film of the same name by Terence Davies) ISBN 978-1-84457-139-0
  • Tramp in Flames (London: Picador, 2006) ISBN 978-0-330-44007-3
  • Field Recordings: BBC Poems (1998-2008) (London: Donut Press,[8] 2009) ISBN 978-0-9553604-6-6
  • The Atlantic Tunnel: Selected Poems (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) ISBN 978-0-86547-917-3
  • Edgelands: Journeys into England's True Wilderness (with Michael Symmons Roberts) (London: Jonathan Cape, 2011) ISBN 978-0-224-08902-9
  • The Dark Film (London: Picador, 2012) ISBN 978-1-4472-1255-3

As Editor

Selected broadcasts[edit]

  • Strange Meetings: Wilfred Owen BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2006
  • Auden: Six Unexpected Days BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2007
  • Why Birds Sing BBC4 Television: February 2007
  • A Poet’s Song BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2008
  • The Larkin Tapes BBC Radio 4: The Archive Hour, 2008
  • The Lament of Swordy Well BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2008
  • Children of the Whitsun Weddings BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2009
  • A Poet’s Guide to Britain BBC4 Television: May 2009
  • Rude Britannia BBC4, BBC2 Television: June 2010
  • The Electric Poly-Olbion BBC Radio 4: Poetry Feature, 2010
  • Lunch Poems: Frank O’Hara BBC Radio 4: Poetry Feature 2010
  • Edgelands BBC Radio 4: Book of the Week, 2011
  • The Sleep Diaries BBC Radio 4: five-part series, 2011
  • Dee BBC Radio 3: Sunday Feature, 2012
  • Night Visions BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2012
  • The Person From Porlock BBC Radio 4: Feature, 2012
  • Goethe and the West-Eastern Divan BBC Radio 3: Feature, 2015

Radio drama[edit]

  • When Louis Met George BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2003
  • The English Civil War BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2004
  • The World in Your Ear BBC Radio 4: The Friday Play, 2006
  • Hide BBC Radio 4: The Afternoon Play, 2007
  • Inside the Bonfire BBC Radio 4: From Fact to Fiction, 2010
  • The Switch-Off Personality BBC Radio 4: Stories (Bath Festival 2011)


External links[edit]