The Michael Donaghy Award

by Arvon in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Total raised £1,625

Gift Aid
+ est. £230.00
£8,000 target 38 days left
20% 43 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 28th June 2024 at 10:00am

In memory of Michael Donaghy we are raising £8K to support a poet to attend the first Arvon Advanced Writing Programme starting in 2024.

by Arvon in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

About the Michael Donaghy Award

In memory of the poet Michael Donaghy, and 2024 being the 20-year-anniversary of Michael’s tragic and untimely death, we are raising £8K to support a poet who otherwise would not be able to afford it to take part in Arvon’s Advanced Writing Programme starting in September 2024.

Michael began teaching at Arvon in 1990 and went on to become a regular and immensely popular tutor there. He had a highly original approach to teaching that, while being essentially playful and creative, was deeply grounded in serious literary and cultural knowledge, that was never less than inspiring. His unique and invaluable contribution as a poetry tutor at Arvon led to the Hurst naming their prestigious library after him. 

About Michael Donaghy

Michael Donaghy grew up in the Bronx, New Yorrk and moved to Britain in 1985 where, over the next 19 years, he published 4 astonishing books of poetry - Shibboleth, Errata, Conjure and Safest - winning the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Whitbread (Costa) Poetry Award and the Forward Prize. His 1999 Reader in Residence for the Poetry Society resulted in Wallflowers: A Lecture on Poetry. A retrospective collection of poems from 1975-1995, Dances Learned Last Night, was published in 2000 and his Collected Poems in 2009. He is also author of The Shape of the Dance: Essays, Interviews and Digressions (2009) and editor of 101 Poems About Childhood (2005). 

Donaghy taught at Arvon, City University and the Poetry Society, and also worked as a musician. He appeared many times on BBC Radio and Television, and was a regular contributor of poems and articles to the New Yorker, the Times Literary Supplement and Poetry. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lived in London. Michael Donaghy died in September 2004.

"Michael was not just an extremely talented poet but a generous one. He was generous with his time, his advice and his ability to nurture and encourage the many young poets around him. I’ve been in the world of poetry for thirty years and he and his work stand out amongst the many."          

William Sieghart - founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry 

"Nobody else in his generation had such a generous yet discriminating scope … Every resource of his mind and memory was in service to language, of which, both creatively and critically, he was a master."

Clive James 

About The Arvon Advanced Writing Programme

Arvon is delighted to be launching its first-ever Advanced Writing Programme, which offers 15 writers two years of sustained engagement and the opportunity to work towards completion of a project, whether in poetry, non-fiction or fiction.

The Advanced Writing Programme consists of three Arvon residential writing weeks, three Arvon online writing weeks, eight Arvon online group workshops and eight Arvon online 1-1 sessions. It will run from September 2024 to July 2026, culminating in a graduation showcase to which friends, family and industry professionals will be invited.

The programme will be led by three dedicated Arvon tutors – Caroline Bird (poetry) Cal Flyn (non-fiction) and Jacob Ross (fiction) – who will work with the group as a whole for elements of the programme, and then more concentratedly with the five individuals comprising their respective genre groups.

You can find out more about Arvon’s Advanced Writing Programme here:

"Much has been said about Michael’s formal dexterity and his ability to create spells and multiple layers within a poem, and these aspects of his genius make reading him a delight, but what I value most is the way he mines common ground and finds new ways of seeing the world."

Anthony Lawrence

"Despite his respect for tradition, Michael was a very original writer and my generation learned a great deal from him. He communicated an immense joy in his art, making it attractive and welcoming, which he believed poetry should be, so this award is a perfect testimony to him, a gift to the future of poetry from a greatly-gifted man."

Ian Duhig



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