Biography Carol Ann Duffy
Born 23 December 1955 (1955-12-23) (age 53)
Notable award(s) OBE 1995
Spouse(s) Ishteyak Hannon and Dan Townley (2004)
Children Ella (1995)
Relative(s) May Black (Mother) died 5th October 1996, Frank Duffy (Father) Lives in Glasgow
Carol Ann Duffy (born 23 December 1955) is a British poet, playwright and freelance writer born in Glasgow, Scotland. She grew up in Staffordshire and graduated in philosophy from Liverpool University in 1977. Carol Ann Duffy was awarded an OBE in 1981, and a CBE in 2002. She now resides in Manchester.
Carol Ann Duffy was born to Frank Duffy and May Black in Glasgow as the eldest child of the family, and has four brothers. She moved to Staffordshire at the age of four. Her father worked as a fitter for English Electric, stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour party and managed Stafford football club in his spare time. Raised Catholic, she was educated at Saint Austin Roman Catholic Primary School, St. Joseph's Convent School and Stafford Girls' High School. She was a passionate reader from an early age, and she always wanted to be a writer. Duffy dispensed with religion aged fifteen, when her convent school in 1985.
Duffy's poems provide voices for an extraordinary number of contemporary characters, including a fairground psychopath, a literary biographer, a newborn baby, disinherited American Indians, and even a ventriloquist's dummy. Many of the poems reflect on time, change, and loss. In dramatizing scenes of childhood, adolescence, and adult life, whether personal or public, contemporary or historical, she discovers moments of consolation through love, memory, and language. She explores not only everyday experience, but also the rich fantasy life of herself and others.
Of her own writing, Carol Ann Duffy has said,"I'm not interested, as a poet, in words like 'plash' - Seamus Heaney words, interesting words. I like to use simple words but in a complicated way." Singer-composer Eliana Tomkins, whom Duffy collaborated with on a series of live jazz recitals, says "With a lot of artists, the mystique is to baffle their readership. She never does that. Her aim is to communicate."
In her first collection Standing Female Nude (1985) she often uses the voices of outsiders.
Her next collection Feminine Gospels (2002) continues this vein, showing an increased interest in long narrative poems, accessible in style and often surreal in their imagery. Her 2005 publication, Rapture (2005), is a series of intimate poems charting the course of a love affair, for which she won the Â£10,000 T.S Eliot poetry prize. In 2007 she published a poetry collection for children entitled The Hat.
Many British students read her work while studying for English Literature at GCSE and A-level, as she became part of the syllabus in England and Wales in 1994.
Duffy is also an acclaimed playwright, and has had plays performed at the Liverpool Playhouse and the Almeida Theatre in London. Her plays include Take My Husband (1982), Cavern of Dreams (1984), Little Women, Big Boys (1986) Loss (1986), Casanova (2007). Her radio credits include an adaptation of Rapture. Her children's collections include Meeting Midnight (1999) and The Oldest Girl in the World (2000).
She also collaborated with Manchester composer, Sasha Johnson Manning on The Manchester Carols - a series of Christmas songs that premiered in Manchester Cathedral in 2007.
Her most recent appearance was at Manchester University (Fallowfield) for an event called Poetry Live.