About Kit Wright

Kit Wright (b. 1944) is the author of more than twenty-five books, for both adults and children, and the winner of awards including an Arts Council Writers' Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award and (jointly) the Heinemann Award. After a scholarship to Oxford, he worked as a lecturer in Canada, then returned to England and a position in the Poetry Society. He is currently a full-time writer.

His poetry can move elegantly through the tensions between restraint and emotion, as in 'Sonnet for Dick' which, by beginning in stiff-lipped restraint - the dead man was "a useful number six who could whack it about" - makes the grief in the poem, once expressed, all the more powerful. Similarly, in 'Red Boots On', a great glimpse of joy in the snow, one of the pleasures of the poem is seeing the poet's exuberantly stomping girlfriend through the speaker's more hesitant viewpoint.

Wright's reading voice is an example of what "well-spoken" refers to. He is clearly aware of the assumptions this can lead to, teasing himself for it in 'How the Wild South-East Was Lost', which he introduces as an attempt "to describe my upbringing as though it had been other than soft." Other introductions include explanations of references, inspirations, and allusions to other poems - or songs. One of the high points, 'The Orbison Consolations', suggests to the singer of 'Only the Lonely' that he should restrain his hyperbole, giving a list of other types of people who, right up to "lastly the ghastly / Know the way you feel tonight."

That enjoyment of rhyme means that Wright has been compared to Betjeman, and this is certainly evident in his easy way with formal features. While some poems revel in that, others lull us into feelings of jauntiness before giving us a real jolt. This can best be seen in 'I Found South African Breweries Most Hospitable', a savage satire on the boycott-breaking English cricket team of the 1980s. This reading shows that, as the poet Anthony Wilson has said, Wright "can be funny, serious and moving, and sometimes all three in the space of a single poem".

His recording was made on 31 March 2003 at The Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Kit Wright's Favourite Poetry Saying:

"I like what vamped me / In my youth: / Tune, argument, / Colour, truth." - Kit Wright (from 'Poetry')

Selected bibliography

The Magic Box: Poems for Children Pan Macmillan, 2009

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A Lisbon Sheaf King's Lynn Poetry Festival, 2006

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Write Away, Times Supplements 2000

Hoping It Might Be So: Poems 1974-2000, Leviathan 2000;...

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Rumpelstiltskin, Scholastic 1998

Dolphinella (illustrated by Peter Bailey), André Deutsch...

Great Snakes (illustrated by Posy Simmonds), Viking 1994...

Tigerella (illustrated by Peter Bailey), André Deutsch...

Funnybunch: New Puffin Book of Funny Verse (editor),...

Prizes

1977 Alice Hunt Bartlett Award The Bear Looked Over the Mountain

1978 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize The Bear Looked Over the Mountain

Prize website

1985 Arts Council Writers' Award

Prize website

1990 Heinemann Award Short Afternoons

Prize website

1995 Hawthornden Fellowship

Recordings

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1Advice for Attending a Hundredth Birthday Party

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2Mantles

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3Waiting for the 242

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4Hoping it Might be So

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5Missing, 1944

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6Belongings

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7Sonnet for Dick

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8The Day Room

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9How The Wild South East Was Lost

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10The Adventures of Patience

11Tune for an Ice Cream Van

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12The Apprehenders

13Elizabeth

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14The Council of the Gods

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15Red Boots On

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16I Found South African Breweries Most Hospitable

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17Hardly Believable Horace and Hattie in Hell

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18Short Afternoons

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19The Sub-Song

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20Moorhouse

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21Ode to Didcot Power Station

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22The Boys Bump-Starting the Hearse

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23The Yoke

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24A Horrid Old Man Reads A Cookery Book

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25A Light Toast

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26The Orbison Consolations

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27Every Day In Every Way

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Books by Kit Wright