Poet Laureate Inspires Happy Talk

Posted on Thursday 12th June 2008

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion will next week address a 900-strong audience at the University of Birmingham.

The acclaimed author, who wrote: "Happiness: the most desirable state, and the most elusive…"  will talk at the university's Baggs Memorial Lecture on Monday 23 June.

The sell-out lecture, which takes place in the Great Hall, is an annual event where eminent speakers, including Alexander McCall Smith, Maureen Lipman and Robert Winston speak about the subject of 'Happiness'.

Andrew Motion was born in 1952. He read English at University College, Oxford and subsequently spent two years writing about the poetry of Edward Thomas for an M. Litt.  From 1976 to 1980 he taught English at the University of Hull; from 1980 to 1982 he edited the Poetry Review and from 1982 to 1989 he was Editorial Director and Poetry Editor at Chatto & Windus.  He has recently been appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in London.  He was appointed as Poet Laureate in 1999.

Commenting on his talk, Andrew said: "I'm looking forward to giving the lecture, and trying to make visible a subject that Philip Larkin famously said 'writes white'."

The Baggs Memorial Lecture began in 1976. Thomas Baggs was an alumnus of the University of Birmingham who went on to become a teacher, journalist and a war correspondent for the Daily Mail before pursuing a successful career in advertising and publicity for the USA automobile industry. When he died in 1973, Thomas bequeathed a substantial sum to the University to provide for an annual public lecture on the theme of "Happiness - what it is and how it may be achieved by individuals as well as nations."

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Media information: Anna Dingley, 0121 415 8134/07769 952763, a.j.dingley@bham.ac.uk; Kate Chapple, 0121 414 2772/07789 921164, k.h.chapple@bham.ac.uk

Notes to Editor

This event takes place at the Great Hall is by invitation only. Any members of the media wishing to attend should call the University of Birmingham Communications Office.

The University of Birmingham has around 30,000 students and 6,000 members of staff and a turnover of £360 million. The University is home to 2.7 million books, along with 3 million archived items and manuscripts and each year 6,000 items are consulted in special collections. Visit www.bham.ac.uk