Biography of Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow on 23 December, 1955, the first child of five. She received a degree in philosophy from Liverpool University in 1977. She received a C. Day Lewis Fellowship to work as a writer-in-residence in East End schools of London in 1982 and 1984. In 1983 she gained recognition for winning the National Poetry Competition.

Duffy’s books of poetry include: New & Collected Poetry for Children (Faber and Faber, 2009); Rapture (Macmillan, 2006); Selected Poems (Penguin, 2004); Feminine Gospels (2002); The World’s Wife (2000); Mean Time (1993); The Other Country (1990); Selling Manhattan (1987); and her first collection, Standing Female Nude (1985). For these works, she has received a slew of awards, including a Whitbread Poetry Award, a Forward Poetry award, a Somerset Maugham award, and a Scottish Arts Council award.

Duffy became a lecturer in poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University in 1996 and subsequently became Creative Director of the MMU Writing School. She has edited anthologies, written plays and children's books, and has worked and performed with musicians.

Duffy was the longtime editor of the poetry magazine Ambit, and she has written for a number of publications. Duffy was appointed as Britain’s Poet Laureate in 2009, becoming the first woman and the first openly gay poet ever to hold the position. During her time as Poet Laureate, she has organized a number of events for worthy causes and to create opportunities for other poets. For example, she gathered poets for readings in London and Edinburgh to raise money for victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2009, and she donated her Laureate payment to create a Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.


Study Guides on Works by Carol Ann Duffy

"Anne Hathaway" appears in Carol Ann Duffy’s collection of poems The World’s Wife, published in 1999. This collection moved women in well-known stories and myths to the foregrounds of their stories—spaces previously occupied by men. "Anne...

Education for Leisure is a poem written by Scottish poet and the first female poet laureate in the UK, Carol Ann Duffy, and was published in 1985.

The poem’s Speaker is a young, male teenager who has thoughts of killing things. The Speaker...

"Havisham" appears in Carol Ann Duffy's fourth collection of poems, Mean Time, published in 1993. Havisham is written from the perspective of the character Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations. The poems included in Mean...

“Mrs. Tilscher’s Class” is the second poem in the Carol Ann Duffy’s 1990 collection titled The Other Country. Like the bulk of her canon, it is a dramatic monologue in which the speaker is an individual relating a narrative. It is structured...

Little Red Cap is a poem written by Scottish poet and the first female poet laureate in the UK, Carol Ann Duffy. The poem is part of her anthology, The World's Wife (1999). It is a retelling of the famous children’s fairytale, Little Red Riding...

"Mrs Midas" is a poem written by Carol Ann Duffy, a Scottish poet and former Poet Laureate. Similar to many of Duffy's poems, "Mrs Midas alludes to Greek mythology. Specifically, this poem refers to the myth of King Midas.

King Midas was given the...

Prayer is a poem written by Scottish poet and the first female poet laureate in the UK, Carol Ann Duffy. The poem is part of her anthology, Mean Time (1993). The poem depicts the struggle of maintaining faith in the modern world.

The poem flicks...

War Photographer is a poem by former UK poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and was first published in 1985. The poem was inspired by Nick Ut's famous Vietnam War photo, "The Terrors of War," of children running from the destruction caused by a napalm...

"Warming Her Pearls" appears in Carol Ann Duffy's book Selling Manhattan, a collection that includes dramatic monologues, love poems, and poems concerned with the effect of money on society. This poem, told by an adoring servant about her...