Andrew Motion

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Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009 and is co-founder of the online Poetry Archive; in 2015 he was appointed a Homewood Professor in the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including most recently the Ted Hughes Award (2015), and has published four celebrated biographies, a novella, The Invention of Dr Cake (2003) and a memoir, In the Blood (2006). Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009.


His most recent collection Peace Talks included poems from the front, the home front & other territories. His radio feature Coming Home drew on conversations with soldiers returning from Afghanistan and was broadcast on BBC R4.

'Motion's creative documentary approach proves frighteningly efficient in highlighting numerous, unexpected - and unreported - details of warfare, from 1914 to the present day.' Alan Brownjohn, The Sunday Times

Until 2016, Andrew Motion was President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Andrew Motion’s work has received the Arvon/Observer Prize, the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, the De Moffart Art Prize (2006) and the Dylan Thomas Prize. In 1994 his biography of Philip Larkin was awarded the Whitbread Prize for Biography, and shortlisted for the NCR Award. The Lamberts won the Somerset Maugham Award. 

'Compelling, simple & mysterious' Sean O'Brien Sunday Times
'His voice is unlike any other'
Lavinia Greenlaw New Statesman & Society
'Motion is a beautiful lyricist unpretentiously and precisely describing those things worth having even as he casts unsettling shadows across them'
Robert Potts The Guardian

He has also co-founded The Poetry Archive, a web-based collection of poets reading their work which will have a significant value for general readers as well as teachers and students (it includes a dedicated 'education zone').  

"The idea of a living poet coming to the school and talking about their work was absolutely unimaginable when I was growing up. It wasn't quite as bad as saying that the only good poets were dead poets but it was nearly like that."

In The Blood (Faber)
' This is a marvellous book. It describes rural upper class England with exactness, candour and humour … Finally, and most importantly, it's a wonderful read. Every word, sentence and chapter, one drinks down with joy because it is so artfully and beautifully composed.’ Carlo Gebler, Irish Times

‘It is the work of the poet to redeem our awareness of the mystery and complexity of the commonplace, and In The Blood does this wonderfully … Shadowed by loss, Motion’s recollections of the people and animals and weather that flicker across the East Anglian countryside become more vivid, because these treasured lives and moments are so perishable. The book's triumph, however, is to show that, alongside this sense of the transience of our individual concerns, something else emerges, something not to be understood in the ordinary way but sensed, accepted and, as a single fabric of beauty and wonder, hurt and dismay, celebrated.’ John Burnside, Scotland on Sunday 

‘Exquisitely written … Memory is the dominant theme, and the pool from which Andrew Motion draws is clear and deep, enabling him to fix experience in unusually minute and textured detail.’ Selina Hastings, Sunday Telegraph

‘A beautifully evocative memoir of [Andrew Motion’s] East Anglia childhood, made all the more potent by the event that abruptly ended it … he looks back across the years with an extraordinary vividness.’ Susan Mansfield, Scotsman

In the Blood is Motion’s elegy for his lost childhood and his lost mother. It is also the portrait of a whole English world that thought it was finished. And last, but far from least, it’s the story of the growth of a writer … Motion doesn’t attempt to explain: he has decided only to tell, and to tell from the point of view of the child he was, not of the man looking back. This he does very well. He captures with quivering clarity his childish bewilderment, his adolescent self-consciousness and – always – the isolation in his own imagination of the born writer … [His mother] made him a writer – her storytelling, her (half)culture, but most of all her loss. All of Andrew Motion’s writing is a form of mourning for his mother, and this book shows us why.’ Carole Angier, Literary Review 

‘An incredible story, written with courage, sensitivity and humour.’ Julie Myerson, She Magazine

‘The great value of a memoir such as this is not only its revelation of someone else’s experiences, someone else’s consciousness, but the realisation of how much we share. He does write beautifully, of course, but I expected that; what’s given me even more pleasure is the amber-like quality of his memory, and the things I found myself recalling in sympathy.’ Philip Pullman

‘Deeply engaging … the innocence and the hardness of childhood are beautifully put together ... it’s a strikingly good book, framed by tragedy but full of intense life.’ Helen Dunmore

Bookings / info. contact: Adrian Mealing tel/fax:  +44 (0) 1684 540366  web:

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Page last updated: 11 March 2018