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Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life

Saturday 2 April 2016

1 Hour


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Biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar Professor Sir Jonathan Bate talks about his new biography of one of the greatest poets and literary characters of the 20th century, Ted Hughes.

The former poet laureate wrote some of the finest poems of 20th-century English literature. He was equally at home writing prose and has been hailed as the greatest letter-writer since Keats. Hughes also had a huge zest for life and love and attracted much scandal. Bate spent five years in the Hughes archive, unearthing a wealth of new material, including unpublished poems, drafts and memorandums. He throws new light on Hughes’s lifelong quest to come to terms with the suicide of his first wife and fellow poet Sylvia Plath. Ted Hughes was named a book of the year by the Spectator, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Financial Times.

‘Manages to illuminate the poet’s lowering literary presence’ Financial Times

Bate is provost of Worcester College and professor of English at the University of Oxford. He is a renowned Shakespeare scholar and wrote a one-act play for Simon Callow, Being Shakespeare. His biography of John Clare won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography. Ted Hughes was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Bate will also be in conversation with Sir Ian McKellen about Shakespeare on Sunday, April 3.