Blake Morrison

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Born in Skipton, Yorkshire, Blake Morrison is perhaps best known for his hugely acclaimed memoirs. He is also a critic, journalist, librettist and poet. He teaches Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, and lives in South London with his family.

For film, theatre and TV enquiries, please contact Charles Walker at United Agents. 

Forthcoming publication:

SHINGLE STREET - Chatto & Windus - February 2015

‘A cul-de-sac, a dead-end track,

A sandbanked strand to sink a fleet,

A bay, a bar, a strip, a trap,

A wrecking ground, that’s Shingle Street.’

Blake Morrison’s first two collections, Dark Glasses (1985) and The Ballad of a Yorkshire Ripper(1987) established him as one of our most inventive and accomplished contemporary poets.

In his first full-length collection for nearly thirty years, Shingle Street sees a return to the form with which he started his career. Set along the Suffolk coast, the opening poems address a receding world – an eroding landscape, ‘abashed by the ocean’s passion’. But coastal life gives way to other, more dangerous, vistas: a wave unleashes a flood-tide of terror; a sequence of topical poems lays bare pressing political issues; while elsewhere portraits of the past bring forth the dear and the departed.

 

Beneath the surface of this collection is an undertow of loss: a piercing examination of change amid a shifting world. Ardent and elegiac, and encompassing an impressive range of mood and method, this is a timely offering from a poet of distinct talents.

 

Praise for THE LAST WEEKEND:

“The Last Weekend messes with your head, refusing to clarify, delighting in its elisions and ambiguities.”
The Times

“So charged with terrible potential does everything become that you begin to fear the worst at every turn.”
Esquire

“A novel that is at once artful and naturalistic, restrained and yet suggestive, and faithful to a perspective from which the reader wants to recoil. Above all, it is a likeable rendition of an unlikeable man, and that is not an easy trick to pull off.”
TLS

“The Last Weekend is a masterpiece of pacing and revelation – the kind of book you genuinely might read in one sitting...Morrison is a master of his craft...Right up until the final climactic pages, as the dread builds and a sense of inevitability grows, Morrison keeps us guessing just how far Ian will go. It’s a terrifying question.”
The Irish Times

“Master of complex human relationships, […] Blake Morrison is back. […] The grisly end is masterly. By the time it is reached, we have reinterpreted all the main characters and their motives at least three times. A fantastic novel.”
A.N. Wilson in Readers’ Digest

“A compelling psychological thriller that […] will cause you to actually flinch.”
Metro

‘‘A terrific read and ‘I couldn’t put it down’ are sometimes seen as backhanded compliments to the best novelists, but in this case they are both sincerely meant and by no means backhanded.  This is a seriously good novel and it deserves to overtake a few more loudly trumpeted false favourites in the popularity and prize stakes”
The Lady Magazine

“It is the assuredness of Morrison’s portrayal of Ian’s descent which makes THE LAST WEEKEND compelling – and lifts a familiar […] story skilfully above the commonplace.”
Independent

“…obsessions, jealousies and untruths emerge in an insidiously gripping tale.”
Country Life Magazine

“Morrison, as those familiar with his bestselling family memoirs will attest, sets a scene with magazine-like prurience. Pages turn in metronomic haste […]. The fascination is horrible, the prose addictive, the situation magnificently claustrophobic, the denouement shocking […]. In short, magnificently awful.”
Glasgow Herald

 

 

 

 

Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2010

CHATTO & WINDUS

A literary yet gripping, humorous yet intense, troubling yet beautiful tale of jealousy and revenge, featuring a classic unreliable and delusional narrator. It begins with a surprising phone call from Ian’s friend from uni, Ollie, inviting Ian and his wife, Em, to join Ollie and his longtime partner, Daisy, for a holiday weekend at the seaside. In precise and vivid prose that reads like a psychological thriller, Blake Morrison brilliantly conveys the stifling atmosphere of a remote cottage in the hottest days of summer. Rivalries between Ian and Ollie, and Ian’s lust Ian for Daisy – who he met first in university before Ollie seduced her away - simmer beneath congenial yet charged chit-chat over meals and wine, and Ian and Ollie resurrect a nearly forgotten bet they had made with each other as students. Each day becomes a series of challenges for higher and higher stakes at golf, tennis, cycling, and swimming. At the same time, Ian plots how to win the love of Daisy and sets in motion actions that will have irreversible and fatal consequences.

THE LAST WEEKEND is a perfectly crafted page-turner and a clever homage to Othello, which is also original and unpredictable. It is surprisingly different from Blake Morrison’s previous acclaimed fiction and non-fiction, and advances his reputation as one of Britain’s most intriguing and talented authors.

2007

CHATTO & WINDUS

Beneath the entertaining domestic canvas and the bright, familiar world of Blair's Britain, there is a dark undertow of public and personal disillusion, of mythologies and urban myths that circle round our apparently comfortable lives. A tale of five people, two rivers, and many Englands, metropolitan and rural, black and white, is gloriously readable and brimming with art and life.

2000

CHATTO & WINDUS

Blake Morrison's praised first novel is a historical fiction about the man who invented the printing press and thereby revolutionised the culture of the book in Christian Europe. Around 1400, in the city of Mainz, a man was born whose invention of moveable metal type was to change the written word for ever and alter the course of history itself. Johann Gutenberg died 60 years later, robbed of his business, his printing presses and, so he thought, of his immortality.

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2002

CHATTO & WINDUS

This is the startling and touching story of Morrison's mother. She kept many things from him, not least the fact that she never told him that before becoming Kim Morrison, she had previously been Agnes O’Shea, daughter of sizeable Irish family. As he set out to find the facts behind this deceptively quiet Kerry girl who had worked as a doctor in 40s Dublin (and subsequently in British hospitals during the war), he discovered that she had totally reinvented her personality. But the seemingly conventional housewife and mother she had elected to become was only part of the story. We are told of an all-consuming love affair during the war; we are given a strong and vivid portrait of everyday life in the hospitals and RAF training camps of the period. Most of all, we are taken into the world of a remarkable woman. Kim Morrison is an unsung heroine of a time increasingly distant from our own world.

1998

GRANT

This is a collection of Blake Morrison's stories and journalism written from 1992 to 1997, examining childhood, relationships between men and women, the public and often fictitious accounts of writers' lives, and assorted aspects of English life and letters. Pieces include a look at the author's own dreams of becoming a football player and a profile of Ted Hughes.

1997

GOLLANCZ

People have almost become desensitized to random murder. It is often explained away by madness, sexual fantasy or rejection. One murder in recent times reduced every person to silence: the abduction and beating to death of a helpless infant by two ten-year-old boys in the Jamie Bulger case. How and why did two innocent boys kill another? Is childhood innocence a myth? And what punishment could fit such a crime, assuming that children are fit to stand trial for murder? Blake Morrison went to the trial in Preston, and discovered a sad ritual of condemnation with two bewildered children at the centre. He looked for possible explanations in the boys' families, their dreary environment, their fantasies, their exposure to violent films. He evokes the worst feats of parents through candid and raw memories of his relations with his own children, and delves into his own childhood to reveal the worst thing he has ever done, to show how easy it is to go along with cruelty.

1993

GRANTA

An extraordinary portrait of family life, father-son relationships and bereavement. Becoming a bestseller, it inspired a whole genre of confessional memoirs.

Poetry

Publication DetailsNotes
2012

LITFEST

Blake Morrison's A Discoverie of Witches contains poems both old and new which give voice to a range of characters involved in the Lancashire Witch trials of 1612: from children who bore witness against their own mothers to the hangman who carried out his job loyally and efficiently. Linking past and present they explore the dark, beautiful Pennine landscapes where Blake Morrison grew up, the kind of places where the natural seems to meet and merge with the supernatural, especially after dusk.

1999

CHATTO & WINDUS

This selection brings together new and previously unpublished poems by Blake Morrison.

BALLAD OF THE YORKSHIRE RIPPER

1987

CHATTO & WINDUS

DARK GLASSES

1984

CHATTO & WINDUS

Morrison's first full-length poetry collection was a Poetry Book Society Choice and won the Somerset Maugham Prize.

Film, TV & Theatre

Other

ProductionCompanyNotes

AND WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER?

BELONGINGS

2009

BBC Northern Ireland

BICYCLE THIEVES

Kudos/ Channel 4

Contemporary version of Sophocles' tragedy

Northern Broadsides

DR OX'S EXPERIMENT

Kudos/ BBC

DR OX'S EXPERIMENT

ENO

ELEPHANT & CASTLE

Aldeburgh Festival

KINDERTOTENLIEDER

Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

OEDIPUS

Northern Broadsides

SHINGLE STREET

Vanson/ Channel 4

THE CRACKED POT

West Yorkshire Playhouse / Northern - Broadsides

THE MAN WITH TWO GAFFERS

Northern Broadsides / Theatre Royal York

WATER LENS

2009

BBC Northern Ireland