Ian Duhig worked with homeless people for 15 years before becoming a full-time writer in 1994 and a concern with social issues continues to inform his work. His most recent book of poetry Pandorama (Picador, 2010) contains a series of elegies based around the persecution and death of Nigerian immigrant David Oluwale, developed from a theatrical presentation premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2008.
Duhig has written six books of poetry in all, three of which were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize. The two still in print are The Lammas Hireling (Picador, 2003) and The Speed of Dark (Picador, 2007). He has received a Cholmondeley award, won the Forward best poem prize and the National Poetry Competition twice and has held various fellowships including the 2003 international writer fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
As well as poetry, Duhig has written for radio, the stage and short stories, one appearing in Comma Press’s The New Uncanny, which won the 2008 Shirley Jackson best anthology award. He has collaborated with other artists, notably musicians with styles ranging from the pre-Baroque (the Clerks) to the avant-garde (the composer Christopher Fox). In Pandorama Duhig produced poetry to accompany Philippa Troutman’s travelling exhibition The Shanties, about the work-camps of railway navvies, and he is presently developing a new project with her to produce an illustrated publication based on ‘digressions’ from Shandy Hall in north Yorkshire.