Before this evening I had only heard of Blake Morrison when he'd been praised by Dr Jonathan Taylor, a lecturer in creative writing at De Montfort University. And it was Dr Taylor who opened the talk with a short introduction on Morrison's impressive career.
Morrison began by reading from his latest novel The Last Weekend. It follows Ian, a primary school teacher, who is deeply jealous of his friend from university, Ollie. Morrison took Shakespeare's Othello as a starting point as indicated by the character's names: Ollie, Daisy, Ian and Emily. He boldly states "If you're going to plagiarise anyone, plagiarise Shakespeare!
Morrison then gave tips about writing, which was no doubt welcomed by the budding writers in the audience. He explained that getting the voice of your narrator is important, and gave an example of this by reading The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper, a poem he'd written about the notorious murderer. The poem was written in Yorkshire dialect and shocked the public, as it was written not too long after the event.
I hope to purchase a couple of his books in the future, especially his most famous work And When Did You Last See Your Father? Mr Morrison, you have yourself a new fan.