Childhood & Early Life
Carol Ann Duffy was born in Gorbals, a poverty struck and underprivileged part of Glasgow, United Kingdom to Frank Duffy, an electrical fitter and Mary Black.
At the age of six, her family re-located to Stafford, England, where she attended the Austin's RC Primary School from 1962 to 1967 and later she was enrolled at St. Joseph's Convent School and Stafford Girls' High School.
She was a voracious reader from her school days and by the age of eleven she authored many poems. At the age of fifteen, her poems were published by ‘Outposts’, a pamphlet publishing house.
In 1974, she enrolled at the University of Liverpool, where she studied philosophy. While at the university, she wrote for a pamphlet titled ‘Fifth Last Song’.
In 1988, she began to work for The Guardian as a poetry critic. She also worked as an editor for ‘Ambit’, a poetry magazine.
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In 1985, she published ‘Standing Female Nude’, a collection of poems. The title poem of the book is written from the point of view of a nude female model.
In 1987, she published one of her highly acclaimed works of poetry, ‘Selling Manhattan’. The book was very well-received and is regarded as one of her best works.
In 1990, she came out with ‘The Other Country’, a collection of poems that was well appreciated and positively reviewed by literary critics. The book takes readers on a fascinating journey into a fantastical world.
In 1993, she published her award-winning poetry collection, ‘Mean Time’, a compilation of verses inspired from childhood, adolescence and adulthood incidents.
In 1999, she published ‘Meeting Midnight’, which was a collection of poems for young readers. That year, she also came out with ‘The World's Wife’, a selection of verses on sexism, equality, bereavement and birth.
Published in 2000, her children’s poetry collection, ‘The Oldest Girl in the World’, was illustrated by Marketa Prachaticka. It is a complete work of fantasy that captures the imagination of its readers.
In 2002, she came out with the illustrated children’s book titled, ‘Queen Munch and Queen Nibble’, which was Illustrated by Lydia Monks.
In 2005, she came out with her award-winning collection of love poems titled ‘Rapture’. This widely appreciated publication made her one of the most significant contemporary poets.
In 2007, she published the children’s book titled, ‘The Tear Thief’. The plot of the book revolved around the imaginary character, ‘Tear Thief’, who stole the tears of every child who cried.
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Published in 2009, her children’s book ‘The Princess's Blankets’, was a fictional tale of a young princess who could never feel warm with anything, until the day her heart is filled with the warmth of love.
Her poem titled, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas 2009’, highlighted the issues of climate change, species extinction, banking crisis and the war in Afghanistan.
In 2011, she came out with the illustrated book, ‘The Christmas Truce’, which is a moving tale of the World War I troops, both German and British who put down their guns to play a game of football on Christmas day.
In 2011, she dedicated a 46 line poem titled ‘Rings’, to the wedding event of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The poem, however, did not specifically mention the names of the couple.
In 2012, she published the illustrated Christmas poem tiled ‘Wenceslas: A Christmas Poem’, which was a re-told account of the carol of King Wenceslas.
Major Works, Awards & Achievements
Her poem collection ‘Standing Female Nude’ is one of her most popular and critically acclaimed works. It was the recipient of the Scottish Arts Council Award.
Her collection of poems titled ‘Selling Manhattan’ was one her most revered and admired publications. It was the recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award.
‘Mean Time’ is one of her most significant works. It received the Forward Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, a British literary award.
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In 1984, she received the Eric Gregory Award.
In 1999, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
In 2009, she was appointed as the Poet Laureate of The United Kingdom.
Personal Life & Legacy
Carol Ann Duffy is openly bi-sexual. Always a rebel with an unconventionally independent streak, she was only 16 when she first met the poet, musician and artist Adrian Henri who was 39 at that time. Their huge age gap did not deter the teenager from developing a romantic liaison with the much older man, a relationship that lasted for 12 years.
Later Duffy entered into a relationship with the Scottish poet and novelist Jackie Kay who is lesbian. The two women were together for 15 years before breaking up.
Duffy is the mother of one daughter, Ella, born in 1995. Ella’s father is the writer Peter Benson.