A towering talent, she is one of the most accessible, acute and powerful poets of our time. Her contribution to poetry over the decades is immense, finding expression in collections of poetry which are as varied, warm and witty as they are moving and profound.
Her talent as a poet was matched by her industry and leadership as ambassador for poetry in the role of poet laureate from 2009 to 2019. Her championing of other poets, her work for women and in educating people about the power of poetry leave a powerful literary and political legacy from her time as poet laureate.
It is entirely fitting that the first Andrew Douglas lecture should be given by someone who combines with such grace immense literary talent and qualities of leadership. Andrew Douglas, a former deputy head and teacher of English, sadly died in November and we decided to establish a termly lecture in his name. He taught at the school for 18 years and was well known for his extraordinary empathy, regularly dispensing wise counsel to staff and pupils alike. He instilled a love of literature in many alumnae, and we are delighted that members of his family are attending the lecture.