Poetry and Fracking to feature in UWTSD Hay Literature Festival Lecture on Thursday, June 2


The subject of poetry and fracking will be explored by poet and eco-critic Hugh Dunkerley, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Chichester, when he presents his work at the 2016 INSPIRE Lecture.

The annual Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE) Lecture is organised by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, UK & Ireland (ASLE-UK). This year’s lecture takes place at the Hay Festival on Thursday 2 June, starting at 8.30pm in The Cube.

The INSPIRE lecture is competition-based and is run by UWTSD. The judging panel invited submissions that explore how literature, in any of its forms, responds to and is shaped by our capacity to know the natural world in the context of debates around sustainability. 

Hugh Dunkerley has been chosen as the 2016 winner. His paper, 'Some thoughts on poetry and fracking, has been selected by academics from UWTSD and ASLE-UKI, who were “unanimous in their decision”.

Hugh’s timely and thought-provoking talk, will ask whether poetry can help challenge our government and the fracking companies in their desire to industrialise large parts of the British landscape. Chaired by Jane Davidson, director of the award winning INSPIRE at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the event will also provide opportunities for audience discussion.

Hugh grew up in Edinburgh and Bath and now lives in Brighton. He is a poet and an eco-critic. His latest poetry collection is Hare (Cinnamon Press 2010). Hugh teaches at the University of Chichester, where he runs the MA in Creative Writing. He has been a Hawthornden Fellow, a Leighton Fellow at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and has won a number of awards for his poetry. From 2013 – 2014 he was the University of Chichester’s team leader for the HEA Green Academy Project

Jane Davidson, also an Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at UWTSD, said: “Sustainability is all about future proofing and ensuring we don’t make our world a worse place for future generations; encouraging better decisions for the longer term. This competition event, at which an original piece of work will be presented for the first time, has enabled writers to explore intensely topical and difficult subjects through new mediums. The audience will have a chance to participate in the event and to receive a copy of the winning lecture.”

Brycchan Carey, Chair of ASLE-UKI, and Professor of English Literature at Kingston University said: “Poets have a proud history of social engagement and political action. Poetry has long been used to change the minds—and hearts—of the British public over issues as diverse as the antislavery campaign, the national parks movement, suffragism, and the response to war and conflict. As recent events have shown, fracking is becoming a key environmental battleground, and in this talk Hugh Dunkerley makes the case that contemporary poets have an important role to play in the debate.”

Note to Editor

INSPIRE (Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is directed by Dr Jane Davidson. INSPIRE is a key component in the University’s mission to embed sustainability into its own practices and to provide its students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will equip them for their future contribution to the economy, community and environment. INSPIRE @ UWTSD won the 2013 Guardian award for the most effective sustainability initiative in higher education in the UK, the 2014 Soil Association Gold Award for its support for local producers and in 2015, UWTSD rose up from 113th in the People and Planet University League to 8th in the UK and 1st in Wales.


The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, UK & Ireland (ASLE-UKI) was founded in 1998. Its aim is to represent and support scholars and writers, in the Atlantic archipelago and beyond,who are interested in the environment and its expression in the cultural imagination.

ASLE-UKI’s current chair is Brycchan Carey, a Professor of English Literature at Kingston University in London. His most recent monograph was From Peace to Freedom: Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1658–1761 (Yale University Press, 2012). And his most recent collection, Quakers and Abolition, co-edited with Geoffrey Plank, was published by The University of Illinois Press in 2014. He is currently writing a book on the relationship between slavery and natural history as well as co-editing books on Early Caribbean Literary Histories (with Nicole Aljoe and Tom Krise) and Birds in Eighteenth-Century Culture (with Sayre Greenfield and Anne Milne).


Further Information

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