Leeds Award honour for poet and playwright Tony Harrison

The Lord Mayor Coun Eileen Taylor presents Leeds-born poet and playwright Tony Harrison with his Leeds Award.
The Lord Mayor Coun Eileen Taylor presents Leeds-born poet and playwright Tony Harrison with his Leeds Award.

Leeds-born poet and playwright Tony Harrison has been awarded one of the city’s most prestigious civic honours, the Leeds Award.

Mr Harrison, 82, was recognised by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Eileen Taylor, for his cultural contribution after a career that has spanned more than 70 years and will now have his name displayed in the ante chamber of the civic hall.

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Mr Harrison said: “The city of Leeds has, and always will, play a hugely significant part in guiding and informing my work.

“It is therefore a huge honour and a very proud moment for me as someone who was born in Beeston and grew up in the city, to be recognised by this Leeds Award.”

Tony is perhaps best known for the poem ‘V’, which was published in 1985 and describes a trip to Leeds to his parents’s grave.

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Among those who nominated the former Leeds University student for the award was playwright and author Alan Bennett, who described Tony as “far and away the most distinguished poet whom the city has ever produced”, and former Oxford Professor of Poetry and current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage.

The Leeds award is an honour that attempts to bring recognition to people, groups, organisations and teams that have brought credit to Leeds.

It was established by Leeds City Council and is viewed as a lasting tribute to exceptional hard work and dedication to the city.

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On hand to present Tony with a Leeds Award in recognition of his nationally and internationally acclaimed work was the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Eileen Taylor as part of a special ceremony held at the city’s civic hall.