Lancaster Assizes, 1612 – ten people from Pendle in Lancashire are hanged, guilty of the crime of witchcraft. The poems in this book give voice to characters involved in the trials: from the accused to the accusers, from a child who bore witness against her own mother to the hangman who carried out the final deed, but not without stirrings of compassion.
The collection also includes the controversial long poem, ‘The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper’.
Blake Morrison was born in Burnley and grew up in Skipton. After working for the TLS, he was the literary editor of the Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time writer in 1995. His poetry collections include a Granta Selected Poems (Granta, 1999), Dark Glasses (1989) and The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper (1987); two bestselling memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father (Granta 2nd ed., 2007) and Things My Mother Never Told Me (2003); a children’s book; several play adaptations and libretti; and three novels, including South of the River (2008) and The Last Weekend (2011). He lives in south London.