Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Frieda Hughes
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Frieda Hughes poet and artist

Frieda Hughes was born in London, moved to Perth, Western Australia in 1988 and settled in Wooroloo in 1991. She returned to England in 1998, living in London until 2004 when a search for larger studio space found her a new home on the Welsh borders.

Poetry Publications

Book of Mirrors (Bloodaxe 2009)

Forty-Five (HarperCollins US, 2006)

Waxworks (Bloodaxe UK, Fremantle Press Australia and HarperCollins, 2002-3)

Stonepicker and the Book of Mirrors (Bloodaxe UK and Fremantle Press Australia 2001; HarperCollins US 2009)

Wooroloo (Harper Flamingo US 1998; Bloodaxe UK and Fremantle Press Australia 1999)

Children’s Books

Three Scary Stories (HarperCollins UK, 2001)

The Tall Story (Macdonald Young Books UK 1997; reissued Hodder Children’s Books 2003)

Rent-a-friend (Simon & Schuster UK, 1994)

The Thing in the Sink (Simon & Schuster UK, 1992)

Waldorf and the Sleeping Granny (Simon & Schuster UK, 1990)

The Meal a Mile Long (Simon & Schuster UK, US and Australia 1989)

Getting Rid of Edna (Heinemann UK 1986, published as Getting Rid of Aunt Edna Harper and Row US; Pan Books paperbook UK 1988)

Art Exhibitions

Joint exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs in Powys Wales 2008

Joint exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs at Soan Gallery London 2003

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs London 2002

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs London 2001

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs London 1999

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs, sponsored by Royal Commonwealth Society London 1998

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs Cork Street Gallery London 1997

Joint studio exhibition with Laszlo Luckacs, sponsored by Lloyds Bank Plc, London 1996

Solo exhibition Provenance Gallery Sydney Australia and Anna Mei Chadwick Gallery London 1995

Group exhibition Gomboc Gallery Middle Swan Western Australia 1994

Solo exhibition at Anna Mei Chadwick Gallery London, joint exhibition at Delaney Gallery Perth Western Australia and group exhibition at Perth Galleries, Perth Western Australia  1993

Group exhibition with Milne and Moller Gallery at Art Expo London 1992

Group exhibition with Milne and Moller Gallery at Art Expo London 1991

Frieda Hughes wrote and painted from an early age, going on to graduate from Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London in 1988.  She’s also worked as a waitress, clerk for the Collector of Taxes and Ministry of Defence, sales manager for a greeting card company and for an estate agents to pay the bills, whilst establishing herself as an artist and writer.

Wooroloo, where she lived from 1994 to 1998, provided a rich source of inspiration for both her poems and her paintings. Aware of her legacy as the daughter of two poets, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, she worked on establishing herself as a painter before seeking to publish her poetry.

She received a NESTA Award in 2002 to help her work on Forty-Five, a portrait of her life in 45 poems and paintings. The initial project was to produce forty abstract paintings based on forty poems, each poem representing a year of the first forty years of her life. The emotional impact would be explored on canvas while the poems would be key to the abstraction in the painting.  As the project progressed, five more paintings and poems were added to represent years 41 – 45 of her life.

Frieda Hughes wrote a weekly poetry column for The Times newspaper from 2006 to 2008.  She chaired the judging panel for the Forward Prizes for poetry and was a National Poetry Competition judge in 2008. In February 2010 she was  a guest on Private Passions, a BBC Radio 3 programme that combines discussion with musical choices. In 2009 she finally indulged a life-long passion for motorcycles with the purchase of a 1250 Suzuki Bandit after passing her motorcycle test.

Official website: http://www.friedahughes.com/

“These are on the whole evocative and sharply observed, showing real feeling for the creatures they describe. Another later poem, ‘February’, expresses the writer’s sense of exhaustion and her yearning for renewal in a way that transcends the merely personal by setting her emotional state in wider contexts of human suffering and seasonal process. There are several dignified and poignant elegies. ‘Verbal Warning’ sends up the absurdity of having so many things that Hughes can’t write about without being accused of plagiarising her parents (Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath). In it, she offers her own humorously and vividly oblique ways of describing things like the bird that was black but not a blackbird, whose ‘feathers ate light like a collapsing star’.” Edmund Prestwich (Acumen)

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