Wendy Cope OBE

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope OBE. Photo by Adrian Harvey.

Wendy Cope is an award-winning English poet renowned for her wit and humour. After reading History at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, she then spent many years teaching primary school in London, before making the switch to full time freelance writer in 1986. She has been a tutor on a number of Arvon courses and still occasionally runs workshops in academic settings and elsewhere.

Her first collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, introduced the world to her clear imagery and biting wit and became a bestseller. She has since published several more collections, which have all been enthusiastically received both by critics and the public. She has also edited a number of poetry anthologies including Is That the New Moon (1989) and The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998). Drawing on her experience as a primary school teacher, she has also written a narrative poem, The River Girl (1991) and two children’s books,   Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and Going for a Drive (2010).

In 1987 she won a Cholmondeley Award for poetry and in 1995 she was awarded the Michael Braude Award for Light Verse. In 1998, BBC Radio 4 listeners voted her their choice to succeed Ted Hughes at Poet Laureate. If I Don’t Know (2001) was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award and in 2010 she was made an O.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday honours. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Wendy Cope is part of the 2013 MFA Residency Series. She is also a writer in residence at Kingston Writing School. She regularly works with students and does readings. On 26 February 2013 she taught the MFA Writing and Teaching workshop talking about her experiences, strategies and motivations as a creative writing teacher and also modelling a poetry workshop.

Selected Bibliography

Poetry Collections:

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986)

Serious Concerns (1992)

If I Don’t Know (2001)

Family Values (2011)

Narrative Poem

The River Girl (1991)

Edited Anthologies

Is That the New Moon (1989)

The Orchard Book of Funny Poems (1993)

The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems (1998)

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories (1999)

Heaven on Earth: 101 Happy Poems (2001)

 

Books for Children

Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988)

Going for a Drive (2010)

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As with all our visiting writers, Wendy has kindly supplied a recommended reading list.

Some books I’ve enjoyed recently:

 

Poetry

Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds

The Overhaul by Kathleen Jamie

Mountain Home: the Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China, translated by David Hinton

Fiction

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

Skios by Michael Frayn

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Keras by Simon Rae (a book for children)

Non-fiction

Gig by Simon Armitage

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