Welcome to the website of the Norman Nicholson Society. The site aims to provide information about Nicholson and his work and encourage the study and enjoyment of this remarkable man's writings. Here you will also find information about the NN Society which holds regular events and publishes the newsletter Comet. The Society is based in Millom, on the banks of the River Duddon and in the shadow of Black Combe, and has a worldwide membership.
New members of the Norman Nicholson Society are warmly welcomed. Membership fees are £15 per annum or £20 for a couple living at the same address, and £6 youth membership (up to age 25). Check out benefits of membership here, including how to access the Members' exclusive area of this website. Please contact us via the Contact page.
Norman Nicholson was born in Millom, Cumbria, in 1914 and lived there until his death in 1987 with the exception of two years in his late teens when he was sent to a sanatorium in Hampshire to recover from tuberculosis - an event which shaped his subsequent life. His writing career lasted from 1930 until his death and embraced plays, poetry, novels, criticism and essays. He is best known for his poetry and was awarded the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1977 and the OBE in 1981.
Read an appreciation of Norman Nicholson by Fran Baker, former archivist at the John Rylands University of Manchester Library, HERE.
Most frequently-asked question: Where can I get hold of Nicholson's work? The Greetings shop, 26 Lapstone Road, Millom LA18 4BU, has a range of Nicholson books in stock. Or try Faber & Faber HERE or Amazon HERE, or click HERE for links to Nicholson's poems online.
The Society's Lockdown Poetry Competition was featured on BBC Radio Cumbria last Monday (July 20th) at 7pm. The competition judge Kathleen Jones, along with poets and Society members Phil Houghton and Martyn Halsall, and our chair Charlie Lambert, were all guest on the evening show presented by Helen Millican. Listen again on the BBC i-Player here. The chat starts approx 1 hour 10 minutes along the timeline.
The Society's competition has also attracted plenty of media attention, with coverage in the NW Mail, the Whitehaven News, and the Cumberland News & Star.
as the coronavirus lockdown moved you to write some poetry? Do you have heartfelt experiences of inspirational moments from these last few months that are itching to get out there? Here's your chance. The Norman Nicholson Society today launches a competition for the best lockdown poems, inspired by Nicholson's own experience of being 'locked down' for health reasons - in his case, it was the long, isolated recovery from tuberculosis which caused him to be 'confined as a limpet' as he put it, in his 1954 poem The Pot Geranium'.
The Society is now inviting anyone with the urge to compose a suitable poem to submit their work by September 1st 2020, and be in with a chance of winning a specially engraved trophy, the official biography of Nicholson, and a copy of Nicholson's 'Selected Poems 1940-1982', plus publication of your work on this website. There are two categories, for adults and under-18s.
We are delighted that Kathleen Jones, Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund and Nicholson's biographer, has kindly agreed to judge the entries. Kathleen will read all the submissions.
Chair of the Norman Nicholson Society Charlie Lambert said: 'These last few weeks have been a unique period in the lives of all of us. Many have suffered terrible distress, all have seen uplifting examples of heroism and determination. We have been reassessing old values and priorities. Some of us now have a closer understanding of what life was like for Norman Nicholson, stuck in his solitary room in a sanatorium for over a year. Whatever the lockdown has done for you, if you have a poem please share it with us. We will publish not just the winning entries but all commended poems, and we may go on to produce a book of these lockdown poems as well’.
For full details and Conditions of Entry click HERE.
Nicholson, Norseness and the Lake District
The influence of Scandinavia on Nicholson's writing is the subject of a PhD being undertaken by Jack Threlfall Hartley, a student member of the Society, who is proceeding to full doctoral candidate status at Oxford University.
Jack told us: 'The first chapter of my PhD is provisionally titled Language, Memory and Place: Norman Nicholson, Norseness and the Lake District, and focuses on Nicholson’s use and understanding of the Norse element in the history, culture and language of the Lake District and how it contributes towards his assertion of provincialism and regional identity. In the thesis more generally, I situate Nicholson’s work among the parallel phenomena of literary regionalism and Norse medievalism, and use this to talk about the ongoing legacy of Scandinavian settlement in the UK, and how it is regionally oriented. Scandinavian settlers saw things in terms of regional communities and local identity too! The other writers I look at are Seamus Heaney, Margaret Elphinstone, George Mackay Brown, Kathleen Jamie, WH Auden and Louis MacNeice'.
If anyone wants to find out more about Jack's research, he is happy to be contacted on Twitter (@northerlynotes) or by email. There's more information about his thesis/research interests on his Oxford page: https://www.english.ox.ac.uk/people/jack-threlfall-hartley and his website: http://notesfromthenorth.mystrikingly.com/. Jack's email address can be found on his Oxford page.
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