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Launch of "Phoenix New Writing" Anthology, A Literary Celebration of the City of Coventry

Originally published 23 July 2003

A new anthology of poetry entitled “Phoenix New Writing”, which celebrates the City of Coventry in an eclectic mix of poetry and prose, edited by poet David Morley, Director of the Warwick Writing Programme at the University of Warwick, is to be launched on Thursday 24th July, The Tin Angel, Spon Street, Coventry, from 1.00pm until 6.00pm.

The common ground for the collection is Coventry, a city that has witnessed stark and radical changes over the past 60 years. “Phoenix New Writing” is the result of the University of Warwick’s work within the Phoenix Initiative, a regeneration scheme designed to take Coventry forward by breathing new life into archaeological treasures and preserving its invaluable heritage.

Morley worked with over 3,000 people during this project through a huge series of writing workshops across the City. From professional published poets, to young children aged as young as 7, to those who recall the devastation wreaked by World War Two, all are united as writers of Coventry.

David Morley, Directory of the Warwick Writing Programme, said: “All contributors are either from the city or have come to Coventry to live, study and write. Some contributors are from as far a field as America, South Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and China. It’s a real measure of the city’s cosmopolitan scope that it can be the home of such diverse writers and lure talent from around the world.”

Writing about his hometown, Coventry, poet Philip Larkin wrote ‘Nothing like something, happens anywhere’. The project participants ensure that Coventry is not- and never will be- a place where nothing happens. I contend that this project, this something, would have had a hard time happening anywhere else. This is a city that shows willing. Many of us are now willing the city to reclaim itself culturally. The Phoenix Initiative has the ambition and confidence to push that claim with us, and for us.”

The book embodies an enormous range of artistic styles and inventions of language. Many of the poems focus on Coventry’s history and people, but much of the writing is free to place itself wherever it wishes, whether in the observed, remembered or imagined.

To bring the poetry of Coventry to the people of Coventry free copies are to be given to every school and library in the city.

The key partners involved in the project, in conjunction with the University of Warwick, are The Coventry Phoenix Initiative, Arts Council of England and the Millennium Commission. Members of the public are welcome to attend the launch event at The Tin Angel, Spon Street, Coventry.

For more information contact:
David Morley
Tel: 02476 523 346

Jenny Murray,
Communications Office,
University of Warwick
Tel: 02476 574 255

Published by Heaventree Press, the book is available by contacting Jon Morley
Tel: 07833 150277