Fierce Light


Friday 13 May


A World Premiere event and major national co-commission from 14-18 NOW, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Writers’ Centre Norwich opens the 2016 City of Literature programme.

Perhaps no art form captured the complexity and terror of the First World War more acutely than poetry. As we approach 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, Fierce Light brings together outstanding international poets with filmmakers and visual artists to explore the war and its legacy in the 21st century.

Join Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra for live readings of their poems alongside work by Yrsa Daley-Ward, Jackie Kay, Bill Manhire and Paul Muldoon, plus excerpts from a series of specially commissioned short films.

Accompanying this event will be a special exhibition of films, poems and images at East GalleryNUA - click here to view the exhibition event page 

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He has published ten collections of poetry, is the author of two novels as well as the best-selling memoir, All Points North. In 2010 he received the CBE for his services to poetry.

Yrsa Daley-Ward is a writer and poet of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England. Her first collection of stories On Snakes and Other Stories was published by 3:AM Press.

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults (The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award) and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006.

Bill Manhire (b 1946) grew up in small country pubs at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island. He was educated at the University of Otago and at University College London, where he almost became an Old Norse scholar. For many years he taught at Victoria University, where he founded the International Institute of Modern Letters, home to New Zealand’s leading creative writing program. Bill was New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate. His most recent collections are the prize-winning Lifted, The Victims of Lightning, and a Selected Poems. He has also published short fiction, most of which was recently collected in The Stories of Bill Manhire (VUP, 2015).

Paul Muldoon is one of Ireland's leading contemporary poets, along with being a professor of poetry, an editor, critic and translator. The author of twelve major collections of poetry, he has also published innumerable smaller collections, works of criticism, opera libretti, books for children, song lyrics and radio and television drama. His poetry has been translated into twenty languages and has won numerous awards. Muldoon served as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University from 1999 to 2004. He has taught at Princeton University since 1987 and currently occupies the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 chair in the Humanities. He has been poetry editor of The New Yorker since 2007.

Daljit Nagra was born and raised in West London, then Sheffield. He currently lives in Harrow with his wife and daughters and works in a secondary school. His first collection, Look We Have Coming to Dover!, won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. In 2008 he won the South Bank Show/Arts Council Decibel Award. Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2011.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Writers’ Centre Norwich.

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, which for 2016 centres on the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The programme takes place across the UK between 22 March and 18 November 2016. Visit the 14-18 NOW website to find out more

Visit Simon Armitage's website here

Visit Jackie Kay's Scottish Poetry Library page here

Visit Bill Manhire's Poetry Archive page here

Visit Paul Muldoon's website here

Visit Dajit Nagra's website here

Visit Jo Shapcott's website here

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and by the Department for Culture Media and Sport