The first book for 16 years from a giant of the poetry stage.
The Noise of a Fly is the first new collection from Douglas Dunn in sixteen years, and the first since he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2013. It is a book brimming with a charming grumpiness: a quarrel with ageing, an impatience with youth, the grief of losing friends and colleagues - poems that are handled with the dexterous humour and the self-mockery of a knowing curmudgeon. But the book looks outward in equal measure: at Scottish independence, British politics, international refugees, and reflects movingly on what it is to be an ageing member of society.
For decades, Douglas Dunn has been a major figure in British poetry. Elegies won the first ever Whitbread Book of the Year award in 1985, pipping Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit to the prize: it has since become a modern classic and is still in print in our typographic front list look today. Before then, Douglas Dunn had shot to fame with Terry Street (1969), a brilliant and affectionate portrait of life in the working-class terraces of Hull, in the city where he once worked as an apprentice librarian to Philip Larkin.
Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942 and lived there until he married at the age of twenty-two. After working as a librarian in Scotland and Akron, Ohio, he studied English at Hull University, graduating in 1969. He then worked for eighteen months in the university library after which, in 1971, he became a freelance writer. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. As well as ten collections of poetry, including Elegies (1985), The Year's Afternoon, The Donkey's Ears (both 2000), and New Selected Poems 1964-2000 (2003), Douglas Dunn has written several radio and television plays, including Ploughman's Share and Scotsman by Moonlight. He has also edited various anthologies, including Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (2006). Douglas Dunn has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda's Parliament. In January 1986 he was overall winner of the 1985 Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.