The Inspiring Internationalists Project

New Writing North & Alice Quinn


Alice Quinn: BiographyAlice Quinn has been Poetry Editor of The New Yorker since 1987. She is also director of the Poetry Society of America and a professor of poetry at the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University, New York. Before joining the magazine she worked as an editor at Alfred A. Knopf publishers, where she edited the Knopf Poetry Series, as well as works of fiction by Ann Arensberg, Steven Millhauser and Celia Gittelson; and works of non-fiction, including Ann Douglas’s ‘The Feminization of American Culture’.


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We are delighted to be hosting a visit to the UK by Alice Quinn and to be bringing her to meet with writers and audiences in the North East.

Alice will be arriving in Edinburgh on Tuesday 11th. As she’s flying into Scotland we have worked with the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Poetry Library to set up a small reception for Alice at the library. This event will be attended by Scottish writers and Scottish publishers who met with Alice in New York last May as part of the ACE/SAC Greater North trip (the point when I met Alice too).

Alice arrives in Newcastle on Wednesday and will be having lunch with Rachael Ogden (ACE), Daneet Steffrens (Mslexia) and Anna Disley (NWN) to have a gentle introduction to the region. Then it’s on to Culture Lab to prepare for the event, US AND UK POETRY DEBATE with Sean O’Brien which is happening at 7pm. This public event will be chaired by Jules Mann from the Poetry Society.

On Thursday Alice will be judging the Northern Writers’ Awards along with London agent Karolina Sutton. Following this she will be meeting with poets Anne Stevenson and Jack Mapanje. Then she will give a lecture on Elizabeth Bishop to staff from the English Department at Newcastle University who will then take her to dinner.

On Friday we will leave Newcastle to explore the Poetry Library in Morpeth in the morning and then meet with poets Kate Fox, Paul Batchelor, Christy Ducker, Peter Bennet, Anna Woodford and Pippa Little for lunch at the Tree House at Alnwick Garden. We then hope to attend Colpitts Poetry in Durham to see
John Hartley Williams and Kitty Fitzgerald read.

Throughout the week we will be talking with Alice about ways to create better links between poets in the North East and in the US and exploring possible ideas for collaborative projects (tours, Metro poetry projects and publishing opportunities) in the hope that in the future writers from the North East will get the chance to work with counterparts in the States and that North East audiences might get to hear more from American writers.

Claire Malcolm, New Writing North

Comment by Claire Malcolm

Just to say thank you very much for a great afternoon up at Alnwick on friday! It was a real pleasure to have Alice share her passion for poetry with us.
Pippa Little

It was a very pleasant occasion on Friday, and a privilege to meet Alice Quinn. Thanks for setting it up and inviting me.
Peter Bennet

Just a quick email to say thank-you for a lovely time on Friday: the food, conversation and setting were brilliant – it was a huge pleasure to meet Alice and to listen to her talk about Sharon Olds and the New York poetry scene especially. (I was absolutely transported!).
Anna Woodford

Thanks for the opportunity to come and enjoy lunch with Alice and Co. on Friday. I found it a very gentle, humorous occasion!
Christy Ducker

It was lovely to meet Alice Quinn and hear her talk about Elizabeth Bishop yesterday! Thanks for putting me in touch with her. She accepted my book of poems, Beasts of Nalunga.
Jack Mapanje

Comment by Claire Malcolm

Hosting a visit to the region by Alice Quinn was an absolute privilege. To be able to learn about current debates around poetry in the US and to hear about how another literature organisation promotes and develops writers in a very different context was hugely useful to New Writing North. Our plan had been to introduce Alice to the work of North East writers whilst she was here and to allow her to share her views with the public via an open event. Both elements of this worked well: Alice was interested to read work by regional writers as part of her judging of the Northern Writers’ Awards and to meet with writers who live and work here during her stay. She also took the time to be interviewed by Newcastle-based Mslexia magazine. We are delighted to now be in conversation with Alice about how we can work with the Poetry Society of America to promote North East writers in the US and collaborate on some shared learning opportunities around cultural management and future exchanges between NWN staff and the Society. We have also discussed how New Writing North’s knowledge of working with writers in schools could form part of a planned US conference. So lots of great potential for building on this new relationship. Personally, I also learned a huge amount from Alice about the profile of the short story in the US, as for many years she edited fiction for the New Yorker and about the current mood of fiction publishing in the States.

Comment by Claire Malcolm

It was great to meet Alice- and very inspiring to think that American poetry isn’t a world as far a way as it seems.

Steak sandwich and walk round beautiful gardens in company of writerly folk was also a nice way to spend a Friday afternoon, so many thanks.
Kate Fox

Comment by Claire Malcolm

A podcast of an interview with Alice Quinn and Sean O’Brien recorded after their event is now available to listen to here:
I have some photos too but can’t work out how to upload them onto this site!

Comment by Claire Malcolm

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