Paul Farley


Paul Farley: Poet, Writer and Broadcaster

Early Life and Education

Paul Farley was born on September 9, 1965, in Liverpool, England. Growing up in the culturally rich and diverse city of Liverpool, Farley was immersed in a vibrant community that would later influence his poetic voice. His early experiences in this dynamic environment are often reflected in his work, which captures the essence of urban life and the human condition.

Farley attended the University of Leeds, where he studied English and found his passion for poetry. His time at university was formative, providing him with both the academic foundation and the creative inspiration to pursue a career in writing.

Career and Achievements

Farley’s professional career began in earnest in the 1990s. He quickly gained recognition for his distinctive voice and innovative use of language. His first collection of poetry, “The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You,” was published in 1998 to critical acclaim. This debut won several prestigious awards, including the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, marking Farley as a significant new talent in British poetry.

Following this early success, Farley continued to build his reputation with subsequent collections. “The Ice Age,” published in 2002, further established his standing in the literary world, earning him the Whitbread Poetry Award. His third collection, “Tramp in Flames” (2006), was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and reinforced his position as a leading contemporary poet.

In addition to his poetry, Farley has made significant contributions to the broader literary and cultural landscape. He has written extensively for radio and television, showcasing his versatility as a writer. His work often explores themes of memory, history, and place, resonating with a wide audience.

Teaching and Influence

Farley’s impact extends beyond his published work. He has held several academic positions, sharing his expertise and passion for poetry with students. His teaching roles have included positions at the University of Lancaster and the University of Oxford, where he has inspired a new generation of poets and writers.

Farley is also known for his editorial work and involvement in literary festivals and events. He has served as a judge for various literary awards, contributing his keen eye for talent and deep understanding of contemporary poetry.

Personal Life

Despite his public success, Farley remains a private individual, often shying away from the limelight. He continues to live in the UK, where he balances his writing and teaching commitments with a quiet personal life. His dedication to his craft and his ability to capture the essence of everyday experiences in his poetry have earned him a loyal readership and a respected place in the literary world.


Paul Farley’s work is characterized by its lyrical beauty, keen observation, and emotional depth. His contributions to contemporary poetry and his influence as a teacher and mentor have left a lasting impact on the literary community. As he continues to write and engage with the world of poetry, Farley remains a vital and influential voice in British literature.

ENTER The Plaza Audio Poetry Prize. Judge: Paul Farley. 1st Prize: £1,000 (US$1250). Deadline: 31st June 2024.