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Acclaimed poet Jacob Polley visits School and reads from his award-winning work 

Poet Jacob Polley at Tonbridge School

Award-winning poet and novelist Jacob Polley gave a reading to an audience of more than 100 students and staff at the School on Tuesday evening (7 November).

The event, organised by the English Society, took place in the Barton Science Centre Atrium, and was also attended by guests from Benenden School and The Skinners’ School.

Jacob read from his poetry collection Jackself, which won the prestigious TS Eliot Prize in 2016, and all students had the chance to chat with him and ask questions afterwards.

Earlier in the day, Jacob held a poetry writing workshop with English A-level students and those from the Creative Writing Society.

A lecturer at Newcastle University, Jacob has four poetry volumes under his belt. The Somerset Maugham Award went to his novel Talk of the Town in 2009. Jackself earned great acclaim, with critics calling it “a firework of a book”. The Guardian listed his most recent collection, Material Properties, published in 2023, as among the “best recent poetry”.

He has also co-written two short films and collaborated on multimedia poetry installations in the UK.

Richard Evans, Teacher of English, said: “The boys’ response to Jacob was compelling and will help inspire their own writing and imaginative ambitions. It was standing-room only for the reading from Jackself, with his audience from local schools clearly taking a huge amount out of the experience.”

Pictured with Jacob, from left, are Sixth Formers Farlie, Tommy, Jean, Rhys, Evan and Ben.