Farley, Paul 1965-

views updated

FARLEY, Paul 1965-


Born 1965, in Liverpool, England. Education: Attended Chelsea School of Art. Hobbies and other interests: Painting.


Office—Department of English and Creative Writing, Bowland College, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YW, England. Agent— Curtis Brown, Haymarket House, 28/29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, England.


Poet. Lancaster University, Lancaster, England, lecturer in creative writing, 2002—. Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, England, poet-in-residence, 2000-02; Hope University College, Liverpool, England, Royal Literary Fund fellow, 2000-02.


Observer Arvon International Award, 1996, for "Laws of Gravity"; Geoffrey Dearmer Award, 1997; Forward Prize and Somerset Maugham Award, both 1998, both for The Boy from the Chemist Is Here to See You; Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, 1999; Arts Council Writer's Award, 2000; Whit-bread Award, 2002, for The Ice Age.


The Boy from the Chemist Is Here to See You, Picador Press (London, England), 1998.

The Ice Age, Picador Press (London, England), 2002.

Contributor to periodicals, including Independent, London Review of Books, Observer, Sunday Times, and Times Literary Supplement.


Paul Farley is a respected English poet who studied painting during the mid-1980s, but by the mid-1990s turned to writing poetry. His literary debut was auspicious. In 1996, he won the Observer Avron award for "Laws of Gravity," a poem about his father, a high-rise window washer who had died ten years earlier. This poem and others were collected in The Boy from the Chemist Is Here to See You, published in 1998. This debut volume includes works recalling his youth in Liverpool and speculating on such subjects as ghostly activity in an abandoned warehouse. The Boy from the Chemist Is Here to See You was praised for its urban imagery and carefully rendered detail and, according to Sean O'Brien in the Times Literary Supplement, is distinguished by a filmic quality which O'Brien called "the selective, transfiguring light of the cinema."

Following the favorable reception afforded The Boy from the Chemist Is Here to See You, Farley was named writer-in-residence at Dove Cottage, the home of nineteenth-century poet William Wordsworth, in Grasmere. Farley later accepted a teaching position at Lancaster University. In 2002, Farley's second collection, The Ice Age, was issued and won the coveted Whitbread Award for poetry. Poems in this collection examine subjects as diverse as an imagined meeting with his teenaged self, deteriorating memory, and a catalog of everyday kitchen objects, including a draining board, spice rack, table mat, and knives. The Ice Age won critical approval for the subtlety with which Farley transforms the mundane into the meaningful.



Independent on Sunday (London, England), February 18, 2001, Ruth Padel, review of "Keith Chegwin As Fleance," p. 54.

Observer (London, England), April 7, 1996, Kate Kellaway, interview with Paul Farley, p. 16.

Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh, Scotland), June 23, 2002, William Herbert, review of The Ice Age, p. 4.

Sunday Times (London, England), August 11, 2002, Alan Brownjohn, "Attraction of Opposites: Poetry," p. 42.

Times Literary Supplement, July 3, 1998, Sean O'Brien, "Notes from the Rooftops," p. 26.