Lawrence Sail

An evening with poet Lawrence Sail

The University of Exeter has a rich collection of literary papers by South West writers and associated literary organisations.  On Friday 4 March Exeter will be hosting an event to celebrate the publication of three new works by Lawrence Sail, whose own archive of literary papers is held in the University’s Heritage Collection.

Sail has strong local connections, being raised in Exeter and has written about the county in both poetry and prose.  At the event he will read from Waking Dreams, New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books); Songs of the Darkness: Poems for Christmas (Enitharmon Press), illustrated by his daughter Erica; and from Sift; Memories of Childhood (Impress Books). 

As a former chairman of one of the country’s oldest and best known organisations for creative writing, the Arvon Foundation, Sail has extensive connections within the literary field.  He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has directed the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in addition to being the UK jury member of the European Literature Prize (1994-96): this year he is president of the UK jury.

The event will be introduced by the celebrated novelist and poet Helen Dunmore, winner of the first Orange Prize and of the National Poetry Competition.  Dunmore writes: “The opportunity to introduce An Evening with Lawrence Sail is an honour and a great pleasure.  I admire his work, appreciate his outstandingly generous contribution to literature, and, like many others, treasure his gift for friendship.”

There will be a display of Lawrence’s poem cards, together with gouaches and woodcuts by his father, Hellmut Sail, in the Senior Common Room, Queen’s Building, from 6 p.m. The readings begin at 7 p.m.

Professor Helen Taylor, the University’s Arts and Culture Fellow, is delighted to be holding this event.  She said “Lawrence Sail has been a key figure in the development of support for writing, particularly in the South West. A fine and subtle poet, he has encouraged emerging and established writers, particularly through his association with the Arvon Foundation and the British Council. We are privileged to honour such a good friend of the University and the literary community”.

Date: 3 March 2011

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