Biography of Carol Ann Duffy

The biography of Carol Ann Duffy is the story of a very able pupil, who showed early talent of the poet. And this talent was not wasted. Duffy has an impressive career in poetry, which is confirmed by her numerous awards.

Born: 23 December 1955
Glasgow, Scotland
Poet, playwright

Who is Carol Ann Duffy?

Carol Ann Duffy is a popular Scottish English-speaking poetess, a playwright, an owner of many prestigious literary prizes and awards. She is the laureate poet since the 2009 (the first woman and the first public bisexual who received this title). She is also known for her feminist views and open bisexual orientation.


By the way, she is also the officer (1995) and the knight commander (2002) of the Order of the British Empire.

When was Carol Ann Duffy born?

Carol Ann Duffy was born on the 23d of December, 1955 in the catholic family in Gorbals, the very poor part of Glasgow. She was the first child of Frank Duffy, an electrician, and Mary Black. The couple brought four more children into the world, they all were boys.

Early life


When Carol was six years old, the family moved to Stafford, where she spent all her childhood and, studied in different time in the First school of Holy Austin, in the Girls’ school of the cloister of Holy Josef, and in a secondary school for girls of Stafford. Besides her wonderful assimilation of the training programme, since early age, she strongly liked reading of fiction and since the age of 11, she began to write her first poems.


Afterwards, Duffy graduates from the Liverpool University, having taken the undergraduate degree in philosophy. She also took a shot at dramaturgy – two plays were staged in the Puppet theater of Liverpool.

Carol Ann Duffy’s family

The future poet was born to a Roman Catholic family. While her father was an electrical fitter, he also stood as a parliamentary candidate (unsuccessfully) and managed the Stafford Rangers football club. Carol Ann had four younger brothers.

Duffy has a daughter, Ella, from the poet Peter Benson. Her longest relationships have been those with the poets Adrian Henri and Jackie Kay.

Career and personal life


The Duffy`s debut in public literature happened, when she was 15. At that period, C. A. Duffy sent her first poem “Outpost” to the publisher B. Stone, who decided to publish only excerpts from her work. A year later, she got acquainted with the poet A. Henry, with whom she began intimate terms. It was a significant event in biography of Carol Ann Duffy. Due to A. Henry, she made a good career in poetic works.

After the break-off with A. Henry, in different time she worked as a literary critic in the journal “The Guardian”, then edited the “Spectrum” magazine and later read lectures in the university of Manchester and was the creative director in the Literature school. The creative work of Carol Ann Duffy was estimated by numerous prestigious literary and government awards, including S. Maugham and T. Eliot prizes, as well as the award of the Order of the British Empire.

Duffy`s first published collections were the following: “Fleshweathercock and Other Poems” (Outposts, 1974), “Beauty and the Beast” with Adrian Henri (a pamphlet, 1977), and “Fifth Last Song” (Headland, 1982). But these publications were not significant in biography of Carol Ann Duffy.

Duffy became well- known in British circles of poetry after the publication of her poem “Whoever She Was”, which won the award of the Society of Poetry in National Poetry Competition in the 1983. And already next year, she received the Eric Gregory Award.

In one of her early collections, “Standing Female Nude” (1985), she used voices of strangers to express her ideas, for example, in poems “Education for Leisure” and “Dear Norman”. Her next collection “Feminine Gospels” (2002) continues this theme, showing heightened interest in long narrative poems available in a style and often unreal in their images. Duffy`s publication of the 2005 of the collection “Delight” was the series of intimate poems, mapping course of amorous intrigue. This collection brought the Prize of T.S. Eliot to its author. In the 2007, she published “Hat”, a collection of poems for children.

Biography of Carol Ann Duffy

The Duffy’s works explore daily experience as well and rich feature life of the author and others. In exaggeration of scenes from childhood, youth and adult life, Duffy discovers moments of consolation through love, memory and language.

The poem “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (2009), told about climate change, loss of species, crisis in the banks` system and the Afghanistan war in the same time.

In the 2011, her illustrated book “The Christmas Truce” was edited: it is a tale of the World War I troops, both German and British who ground arms to play a football match on Christmas day.

The same year, she dedicated her poem “Rings”, to the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

In the 2012, Duffy`s illustrated Christmas poem “Wenceslas: A Christmas Poem” was published. It was a re-told account of the song King Wenceslas. And it is not the last stroke in the biography of Carol Ann Duffy.

What awards has Carol Ann Duffy received?

The list of the poet’s awards is very long and goes well beyond twenty lines. Among them, we can mention the Scottish Arts Council Award, Somerset Maugham Award, Whitbread Poetry Award, and T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2009, she became the UK’s poet laureate.

Is Carol Ann Duffy bisexual?

Duffy is openly bisexual. In an interview, she mentioned that throughout her life, she used to fell in love with different people, and “it hasn’t really mattered if it was a man or a woman.”

Popular poems by Carol Ann Duffy

  1. Valentine
  2. Stuffed
  3. Words, Wide Night
  4. Talent