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Manchester Writing School welcomes award-winning poet Andrew McMillan to the team

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By Jacqueline Grima

Manchester Writing School have recently announced the addition of another established and award-winning writer to their teaching team: poet Andrew McMillan. Andrew will be teaching on the MA/MFA Creative Writing poetry route.

Andrew has been described by the Poetry Book Society as “an exciting force in contemporary poetry.” His debut poetry collection physical was the first poetry work to win the Guardian First Book Award and the collection has also won the Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and the Dylan Thomas prize, among others.

Andrew spoke to Humanity Hallows about his journey to becoming a poet: “I always wrote poetry when I was younger, and then, when I was sixteen, I was given a copy of Thom Gunn’s Collected Poems; reading that and Philip Larkin really convinced me that I wanted to be a poet.

He added, “I studied English at Lancaster and then UCL and started getting some poems in small magazines and eventually did a first pamphlet, like an E.P before the full album, when I was a second year undergraduate. This was followed by two more pamphlets before a first full collection, physical, which Jonathan Cape published in 2015. I think I came to writing poetry, as we all do, because I was a reader; because I loved reading it and eventually thought, ‘Oh, I might as well have a go at that myself!'”

He is very much looking forward to his new teaching role at the Writing School: “I’m delighted to be joining the Manchester Writing School; it’s going to be thrilling to be able to work alongside poets and writers who I have admired for years and, as Manchester is my home city, it feels like a homecoming of sorts.

“I’ll be teaching a range of different classes, across undergraduate and postgraduate, and hopefully also welcoming new research students to the university in my role as a PhD supervisor.”

What can students expect from his classes?

“I like my classes to be fairly informal, but still structured; I always think classes and seminars are a great way of introducing new work to students, having discussions about different voices and also giving ourselves permission to not like work, as long as we can articulate why.

“Through close readings, writing exercises and discussion, we can have fun and move our craft and practice forward at the same time. Oh and I’ll probably always be wearing black too, the standard poet’s uniform!”

Poet and Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School Adam O’Riordan is looking forward to welcoming Andrew to the team. He told us, “We are delighted to welcome Andrew McMillan to the Writing School at Manchester Met. He takes his place among a group of multi-award winning, critically acclaimed poets which include Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Symmons Roberts, Jean Sprackland and Helen Mort and our teaching team makes us, as arguably the strongest and most dynamic grouping within any university in the UK, a very special kind of Northern Powerhouse.

“We look forward to supporting Andrew as he works to strengthen and expand our links with all the poetic communities across the city from the performance to the page.”

For more information about the Manchester Writing School MA/MFA in Creative Writing, visit the Manchester Writing School website.

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Jacqueline Grima

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