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Tighe, Carl

Tighe, Carl

PERSONAL: Born in Birmingham, England.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Gardners Books, 1 Whittle Dr., Willington Drove, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6QH, England

CAREER: Derby University, Derby, Ireland, professor of creative writing and head of creative writing department; has also taught in Poland.

AWARDS, HONORS: City Life Writer of the Year Award, 2000, for Pax: Variations; Whitbread First Novel Award shortlist, 2001, and Authors Club Award, 2002, both for Burning Worm; All-London Drama Prize, for A Whisper in the Wind.


Gdansk: National Identity in the Polish-German Borderlands, Pluto Press (Concord, MA), 1990.

Rejoice! (short stories), Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1992.

The Politics of Literature: Poland, 1945–1989, University of Wales Press (Cardiff, Wales), 1999.

Pax: Variations (short stories), IMPress (Manchester, England), 2000.

Burning Worm (novel), Gardners Books (Eastbourne, East Sussex, England), 2001.

Writing and Responsibility, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.

Also the author of radio plays and of stage play A Whisper in the Wind. Contributor to periodicals, including Ambit and Metropolitan.

ADAPTATIONS: A number of Tighe's plays and stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales, and other radio stations in the United Kingdom.

SIDELIGHTS: Carl Tighe is a short-story writer, novelist, playwright, and creative writing professor. He is also a scholar of Polish literature, and his fiction and nonfiction frequently address political and literary issues in Poland. The Politics of Literature: Poland, 1945–1989 is an "elaborate study of the relationship between communism and literature in postwar Poland," according to Jerzy R. Krzyzanowski in World Literature Today. Topics covered include everything from the origins of Polish literary opposition and Communism to the conditions faced by professional writers in Poland and linguistic conflicts between writers and those who controlled the Communist ideology. Tighe also examines the works of Polish novelists, prose writers, journalists, and critics. Reviewer George Gomori noted in the Journal of European Studies that there is a lack of coverage of poets, philosophers, and playwrights. However, the critic maintained, all the writers included are "at one point practicing Marxists or at least Communist Party members," and therefore "the author's intention is to demonstrate the vital role that Left-leaning writers played in Poland's recent history." Unfortunately, Krzyzanowski felt that the book suffers from a number of "cavalier" comments and from several small, incorrect details that erode the overall credibility of the work; the reviewer observed that "many valuable observations lose their validity, overshadowed by statements and often by quoted facts that have no basis in reality." However, the book contains "some keen observations," and Tighe's profiles of a variety of Polish authors and their relation to politics "are informative and based on solid research," Krzyzanowski concluded.

Burning Worm, Tighe's debut novel, addresses the Solidarity years of early 1980s Poland "with wise playfulness," commented reviewer Nicholas Birns in the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Here, Polish professor S. Mroz writes about Eugene Hinks, an Irish author who draws parallels between the Polish and the Irish in that they are both rebellious, rural, and poor. However, the Hinks character does not rise above his circumstances, nor does he yearn to be a hero; instead, his main concern is simply to survive. Through his characters, Tighe examines what happens when people who have been consistently dominated finally have the chance to confront and experience freedom. "It is a remarkable work," attested Birns, "one that, though unabashedly inventive, is … ultimately out to capture the truth."



Bookseller, March 8, 2002, Benedicte Page, "Behind the Headlines," p. 12; April 26, 2002, "Tighe Wins Award," p. 37.

Journal of European Studies, March, 2001, George Gomori, review of The Politics of Literature: Poland, 1945–1989, p. 134.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, fall, 2002, Nicholas Birns, review of Burning Worm, p. 154.

World Literature Today, winter, 2000, Jerzy R. Krzyzanowski, review of The Politics of Literature, p. 195.

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