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Hull celebrates 100 years of Philip Larkin with a series of centenary events



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Celebrations of Philip Larkin on what would have been his 100th birthday will take place across the country on Tuesday 9 August, with Hull taking centre stage.

A series of exciting and innovative centenary events will kick off in the city, supported with funding from Hull City Council.

An afternoon of poetry, dance and music at Hull Truck Theatre entitled Finding Home will be hosted by writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet. The performance will feature internationally acclaimed poet and Honorary Vice President of the Philip Larkin Society (PLS) Imtiaz Dharker, Hull-based poet and writer Vicky Foster, the Broken Orchestra, Coventry-based musician and songwriter Wes Finch and the JoinedUp Dance Company.

The University of Hull’s Middleton Hall will then host an evening in the company of Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.

Tuesday also sees the opening of an exhibition by artist DJ Roberts called Larkinworld 2, a reworking of DJ’s acclaimed installation at the National Poetry Library on London’s South Bank in 2017. The exhibition will take place in the University of Hull’s Art Gallery at the Brynmor Jones Library and will run until Sunday 25 September.

Alongside this, Astonishing The Brickwork – Philip Larkin set to music by James Orwin will also be published and will provide a vital research tool for any Larkin scholar, particularly in relation to the musical potential in so many of Larkin’s poems.

On Thursday 11 August, there will a showing of Klaartje Quirijns’s Your Mum and Dad: A Devastating Truth at Parkway Cinema in Beverley. Beverley will also feature in a Larkin walk on Tuesday 20 September as part of the Walking East Yorkshire Festival.

Tuesday 25 October will see PLS Honorary Vice-Present Alan Johnson will join Roise Millard for an evening of conversation at Hull Truck Theatre.

Away from Hull and East Yorkshire, events will be taking place across the country, including:

  • 31 Aug – 17 Sept – A revival of Ben Brown’s brilliant play, Larkin With Women, at the Old Red Lion, Islington
  • 15 Sept – There will be a Larkin Day in Wellington, Shropshire, where Larkin began his career as a public librarian
  • 4 Sept – PLS Trustee Daniel Vince will be giving a talk entitled “A few green leaves can make such a difference”: Pym, Larkin, and rural retirement’ at the Barbara Pym Society AGM and conference at St Hilda’s College, Oxford
  • 14 Sept – Honorary Vice-President, Andrew Motion will be joining Wendy Cope and Zaffar Kunial in a Faber and Faber members-only event entitled “In focus: Philip Larkin”.
  • 17 Sept – Sir Andrew joins PLS President Rosie Millard for what will be a fascinating online conversation. Booking details will be released shortly
  • 24 Sept – A joint conference with the Betjeman Society in Leicester entitled ‘A Coming Together of Sorts: the collaborative adventures of John Betjeman and Philip Larkin’
  • 4 Nov – Larkin Day in Loughborough, during which Lynne Dyer, a local author, and Philip Pullen, a Larkin writer and researcher, lead a guided tour of the town. This will be followed by an evening of Larkin-related talks hosted by the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Loughborough.

Events will continue throughout the year, with more yet to be revealed. Visit the Philip Larkin Society website for more information and follow them on Twitter.

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