Poet & tutor, project manager & agent
Before turning to her love of poetry, Caroline wrote several ground-breaking health books (Little Brown, Penguin) which led to her appearances on Channel 4, Granada Television, Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour (three times!), Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon and in the national and regional press.
Having completed the M.A. in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) with Distinction, Caroline works now as a published poet and tutor. Last year, she held the post of ‘fungi’ poet-in-residence at the NHS National Aspergillosis Centre (NAC).
Caroline also works as The Hawkridge Agency to run well-established UK poets’ readings and engagements, to manage innovative literary projects (e.g. Simon Armitage’s two walks as a modern troubadour, Joy Winkler’s tour of her verse-drama TOWN), and to provide top writers with research for creative non-fiction and radio drama.
“without either laughing or fainting, [Caroline] responded to my plea for help with such enthusiasm, optimism and managerial panache that I now shudder to think how things might have turned out without her assistance.”
Simon Armitage, Walking Home (Faber 2012)
Last year, Caroline was poet-in-residence at the NHS National Aspergillosis Centre (NAC), University Hospital of South Manchester, which treats patients with fungal disease of the lungs.
Her work with the NAC support group was featured in The Guardian, the PAN journal’s special edition on fungi and read by the actor Rupert Everett at the international launch of GAFFI at the House of Commons.
To help raise awareness, Caroline programmed Open the Windows: Poetry & Medicine, the first joint reading by Forward Prize-shortlisted poet Rebecca Goss and Denise Bundred. This performance juxtaposed the poetic voices of a mother/patient and doctor, and premiered music celebrating ‘breath’ by Chris Davies and creative voice specialist Beth Allen. The NAC commissioned the music and hosted the event with Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Museum. Click & scroll down for the video.
Open the Windows was fully booked, highly rated by the audience and reviewed as ‘remarkable’. 14.5% of the audience had never been to a live literature event before. The case study was presented as a poster at the 5th International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine.
Poet & Tutor
Caroline’s poetry has been published in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Poetry Corner’ in The Daily Mirror and magazines such as The Dark Horse, Mslexia, Magma, and The Interpreter’s House. Her poem Peregrine was nominated by The Dark Horse for the Forward Prize Best Single Poem and became Featured Poem on the magazine’s website:
“If Hughes and Jeffers are to some extent behind this, Hawkridge’s city-centre, webcammed peregrines are, finally, entirely her own, made vivid by thrilling and unexpected details and a bravura use of language (‘rufous’, ‘quatrefoil’, ‘finial’, ‘flymphs’) and surprising facts: the falcon’s ‘lower lid rises to close’ in sleep, while natural and techological imagery are brilliantly interchangeable.”
Gerry Cambridge, The Dark Horse
Caroline won Mslexia’s Villanelle Poetry Challenge (Linda France), was double winner of the Moorland Plant Poetry competition, Runner-up (£250) in Cheshire Prize for Literature and Highly Commended in the Torbay (Wendy French), York (Michael Symmons Roberts) and Magma (Philip Gross) competitions.
Caroline tutors the fabulous Keele Poets at Silverdale (see Gallery) and on adult education creative writing courses at Sir John Deane’s College. She has taught for the Open University and Keele University.
Caroline loves community projects. She set up Simon Armitage’s walk along the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour for his bestselling book Walking Home (2012) – and then ran Simon’s companion walk along the northern SW Coast Path to Land’s End and the Scillies for his new bestseller Walking Away (2015). Imagine the (paid) fun of bartering everything needed for Simon’s walks in return for poetry with communities en route!
Caroline also enjoyed promoting former Cheshire Poet Laureate Joy Winkler’s verse/drama TOWN, which toured village halls, churches, libraries and social clubs last year.
Before establishing her own agency, Caroline ran MMU’s Words on Film festival and received the Janet Beer Prize. She volunteered her media skills and spare time extensively to help launch and/or develop audiences for Poets & Players (2004-11) and Zest! (2005-09) and worked for Fourpenny Circus (2009).
Ground-breaking health books
Previously, Caroline wrote Understanding Endometriosis (Optima 1989, Little Brown 1993, Vermillion 1996), the first British book for women on a then little-known gynaecological condition. The book was well reviewed in The Lancet, New Scientist and Nursing Times. It went into a second edition and stayed in print for 18 years.
“excellent book… since it is…about how women with endometriosis feel, the doctors who treat them might also learn a thing or two.” The Lancet
The Menopause, HRT and You (Penguin 1999) was the first menopause book to include stories from women who have had an early menopause or lack hormones for genetic or intersex reasons.
Please Note: There is more than one Caroline Hawkridge in the UK.