(1907-1991) Alfred Wainwright was born in Audley Range, Blackburn, Lancashire, the son of a stonemason, in 1907. Wainwright was educated at Blakey Moor School and at the age of 13 he became an office boy in Blackburn Borough Engineer’s Department. But it was at the age of 23 during a holiday visit to the Lake District that he began a lifelong love affair with the Lakeland Fells. In 1941 he was appointed to a position in the Borough Treasurers Office in Kendal in Southern Lakeland, and went on to serve as Borough Treasurer from 1948 until he retired in 1967. He spent the rest of his life as a resident of Kendal, and it was here that he began making pen and ink drawings of the fells. His now famous pictorial walking guides (the ‘Wainwright Guides’) to the Lakeland fells, accompanied by his own hand-drawn maps and illustrations, made between 1952 and 1966, a series of 7 guides in all, have all become classics of their kind and are still definitive best-sellers with walkers and ramblers in the Lake District. The 214 fells described in his Pictorial Guides are now generally known as “the Wainwrights”. He also made and published many other guides, including the Pennine Way and the Derbyshire Dales, as well as a substantial portfolio of drawings and sketches including drawings of the Eden valley and a Furness Sketchbook. In 1972 Wainwright devised the Coast to Coast Walk, which traversed the north of England from St Bees on the west coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast. Wainwright died on 20 January 1991 and a memorial to him can be found in the church at Buttermere. His ashes were scattered above the village on his favourite Lakeland mountain, Haystacks.
(Born 1942) Novelist, critic, columnist and broadcaster Howard Jacobson was born in Prestwich in 1942, the son of a Manchester market trader. He was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield and went on study at Cambridge University. He worked as a lecturer at the University of Sydney for three years before returning to teach English at Selwyn College. In the 1970s he went on to tech at the Wolverhampton Polytechnic, which provided the source material his first novel, “Coming From Behind” published in 1983. Others of his novels include the satirical comedy “Peeping Tom” (1984), “The Very Model of a Man” (1992), “No More Mister Nice Guy” (1998), and in 1999 “The Mighty Walzer” based on the Jewish community in Manchester during the 1950s. This book was awarded the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse and the ‘Jewish Quarterly’ Literary Prize for Fiction in 2000. Next came, in 2002, “Who’s Sorry Now” , followed by “The Making of Henry ” in 2004. An ‘Arena’ television documentary on Howard Jacobson, entitled ‘ My Son the Novelist’, was broadcast on BBC2 in 1985, and his work featured in an edition of ITV’s ‘South Bank Show’, in 1999. Jacobson explored his own Jewishness ins two non-fiction books: “Roots Schmoots: Journeys Among Jews” in 1993, and “Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime” in 1997. He has also made two television programmes: in 2000, ‘Howard Jacobson Takes on the Turner’, on Channel 4, and in 2002, a ‘ South Bank Show’ special entitled ‘Why the Novel Matters ‘. He also authored of a travel book about Australia, “In the Land of Oz” in 1987. In 2006 he published “Kalooki Nights” . In October 2010 he won the prestigious £50,000 Booker Prize for his novel “The Finkler Question” , a humorous look at Jewish culture.
(Born 1935) Author, Playwright, Screenwriter Trevor Griffiths was born on April 4th 1935 in Ancoats, Manchester of Irish and Welsh decent. He attended the local Catholic school and entered Manchester University in 1952 to read English. He was for a short time a professional footballer, followed by one year’s National Service, before he became a teacher and Liberal Studies lecturer and a further education officer for the BBC before becoming a full time writer in 1970. He has been writing for the theatre, television and cinema since the late 1960s, his work having won numerous awards. Perhaps his best known stage play was “Comedians” , (1975). He received a Best Screenplay Award and an Oscar nomination for his film “Reds” , written with and starring Warren Beatty. Other notable films to his credit have included “Country” directed by Richard Eyre and “Fatherland” directed by Ken Loach. Since the 1980s he has directed his own work in the theatre and on film. In 1997 the BBC broadcast his made-for-television film “Food for Ravens” which he both wrote and directed. He is also well known for his adaptations of works by writers like D H Lawrence and Chekhov. Trevor Griffiths’s published plays include “These Are The Times, a Life of Thomas Paine”, “Theatre Plays One” and “Theatre Plays Two “.
Though Anna Jacobs now lives in Australia, she was born and bred in Rochdale, and now makes her living as a novelist writing books set in Lancashire – mainly historical sagas. She currently has 34 novels published and more in the pipeline, and her work is ranked regularly in the UK best-seller charts. Coming out in January 2006 is ‘Pride of Lancashire’ , Book One in a series about the early days of the music hall in Lancashire, when there were music saloons attached to pubs. A prolific writer, Anna writes novels under several names and uses the pen names Shannah Jay when writing science fiction and fantasy, and Sherry-Anne Jacobs when writing historical novels. Her recent romantic novels include ‘Twopenny Rainbows’, ‘Marrying Miss Martha’ , and ‘Our Mary Ann’, all published in 2004. With several recognised and authoritative books on the subject, she is now regarded as a major authority on the genre, and is much in demand to speak and lecture on this and related subjects, as well as having published books on the subject, including ‘An Introduction to Romance Writing’, and ‘Plotting & Editing’. Other works, including ‘Calico Road’, ‘Wishing Well’ and ‘An Independent Woman’, were all published in Australia in 2005, as well as ”Threepenny Dreams’ – though most are now available in paperback in the UK and other Commonwealth countries. A feature article about her life and work was recently published in ‘Lancashire Life’ magazine, and in April 2005 she was invited to talk about her work in Ellesmere Port Library. More about Anna Jacobs and her work can be found on her website at www.annajacobs.com – Anna Jacobs photo supplied by the author.
Carol Ann Duffy CBE, FRSL
(Born 1955) Carol Ann Duffy was born on 23 December 1955) into a Roman Catholic family in the Gorbals, a very poor part of in Glasgow, the first child of Scot Frank Duffy and May Black, both of Irish descent. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain’s poet Laureate in May 2009, the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly bisexual person to hold the position. Her collections include “Standing Female Nude” (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; “Selling Manhattan” (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; “Mean Time” (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and “Rapture” (2005), winner of the T S Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence, in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools. Her poet, “Last Post” , was commissioned by the BBC to mark the deaths of Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, the last two British soldiers to fight in World War I. Most recently, her poem “Vigil” was written specially for the Manchester Pride candlelight vigil in remembrance of lesbian, bisexual and gay people who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS. Her poems are widely studied in British schools at GCSE, A-level, and Higher levels and she is widely acknowledged to have done more to help popularise British poetry than any other poet alive today. In 2002 she was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire).
(1882 1958) Harold Brighouse was born in Eccles, Salford on 26th July 1882. He attended a local school, before winning a scholarship to the Manchester Grammar School. After leaving school he worked for a time as a textile buyer in a shipping merchant’s office and in 1902 he was sent to help set up a London office. There he met Emily Lynes aand they were married in 1907. In 1908 he returned to Manchester to become a full time writer. He is probably best known for his play “Hobson’s Choice”. Along with Allan Monkhouse and Stanley Houghton he was part of a group known as the Manchester School of Dramatists. Early writings included “Lonesome Like” and “The Doorway” , which was performed at Annie Horniman‘s Gaiety Theatre in Manchester in 1909. Three of his works, all set in his native Lancashire, ” The Northerners”, “Zack” and “The Game” were published together under the title ‘Three Lancashire Plays’ in 1920. But it was his most well known play “Hobson’s Choice” which is most celebrated, having been performed in many theatres in Britain and America, as well as the 1953 film by David Lean. Brighouse also wrote novels, including “Hepplestalls” , about a 19th century Lancashire mill-owning family, as well as reviews and other pieces for the Manchester Guardian Newspaper . He was a member of the Dramatists’ Club and in 193031 was chairman of the Society of Authors’ dramatic committee. His autobiography “What I Have Had” was published in 1953. Declared to be unfit for service in the First World War, he later joined the Royal Air Corps, and was seconded to the Air Ministry Intelligence Staff. In 1919 he moved to Hampstead, London. Harold Brighouse died in London on 25 July 1958, aged 76, in Charing Cross Hospital after collapsing the day earlier in The Strand.