Sebastian Peake reads poetry by Mervyn Peake

Thursday 20 November 2008
12.30pm - 1.15pm
FREE, no need to book

NEW DATE Sebastian Peake reads his father's poetry in front of 'The Glassblower' painting in our Modern and Contemporary galleries. In celebration of the launch of a new publication of poetry.

This event was originally due to take place on Tues 21 Oct as part of Manchester Literature Festival.

It is forty years since the death of Mervyn Peake (1911-68), the author of the much-loved Gormenghast novels. The first comprehensive edition of Peake's poetry is now being published in celebration of this anniversary.

The publication includes every black-and-white illustration Peake made for his verse, including many previously unpublished drawings. Of more than 230 poems in the collection, over 80 are printed for the first time.

In addition, detailed work on the manuscripts by Robert Maslen reveal the poems to be a dazzling link between the fantasy world of Gormenghast and the narrative of Peake's own life and the turbulent times he lived in.

Peake emerges as a compelling poet, with an acute sense of his responsibilities as an artist, passionately engaged with current events, from unemployment in the 1930s to the horrors of the London Blitz and the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. He is also a fine romantic poet and a sensitive observer of the human form. Readers who love the world of Peake's novels, and those who are new to his work, will discover here one of the great originals of the 20th century.

Sebastian Peake is the eldest of Mervyn Peake and Maeve Gilmore's three children. A former jazz drummer, he works as a wine merchant in London. He is the author of Child of Bliss: Growing Up With Mervyn Peake, published in 1989 and recently reissued by Random House in a companion volume with his mother's memoir, titled Mervyn Peake: Two Lives. As well as maintaining his own site Sebastian speaks widely about his father's life and work. He also administers the Mervyn Peake Awards, given annually to writers and artists with Parkinson's Disease.

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