Canal Laureate Roy McFarlane

New Canal Laureate appointed

The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Britain’s new Canal Laureate: Roy McFarlane.

Canal Laureate Roy McFarlane

Poet Roy grew up in Birmingham and the Black Country, surrounded by canals. He says: “I lived, played and loved by canals and rivers and am looking forward to recapturing those stories; tales of diverse communities in urban settings who lived with canals in their backyard.”

During lockdown, Roy, like many of us, spent a lot of time outdoors. He retraced routes along his local canal towpath and developed a newfound understanding of how waterways can become sites and spaces for wellbeing and an aid to mental health.

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Roy begins his role as Canal Laureate this month, following in the wake of poets Nancy Campbell (Canal Laureate 2018-9), 2021 Forward Prize-winning Luke Kennard (2016-17) and Jo Bell (inaugural Canal Laureate, 2013-15).

Roy will be both writing his own poems, and working with various groups of canal users, including boaters, to create new collaborative works. His first project will involve a canal walk on the shortest day of the year, to be followed by return visits on the Equinoxes and the longest day. Other projects with a wellbeing, nature or history focus will follow – and canal communities who would like to get involved with them should contact The Poetry Society for the latest updates.

For further information, images or to arrange interviews please contact:
Ben Rogers, Poetry Society: 020 7420 9895 • brogers@poetrysociety.org.uk

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