ARMED only with a chair, a microphone, stories, jokes and poems, Henry Normal takes on the world at Selby Town Hall on October 22, looking for a win-win situation.
Writer, poet, TV and film producer, Manchester Literature Festival founder and BAFTA-winning BBC Radio 4 perennial, Normal will be delivering his Sit Down Poetry show at 8pm.
“Henry Normal is a magnificent, idiosyncratic chronicler of the quotidian,” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones. “He delivers understated, wryly observed yet incredibly powerful poems from the heart with a wonderfully warm and easy style. We’re honoured to be hosting one of just a handful of tour dates he’s undertaking across the country this autumn.”
Labelled “the Alan Bennett of poetry” by the Scotsman newspaper, Normal has written and presented nine of his own comedy, poetry and storytelling shows for BBC Radio 4, the latest being this summer’s series A Normal Community.
For television, he co-wrote and script-edited The Mrs Merton Show and the first series of The Royle Family. Alongside Steve Coogan, he co-wrote the BAFTA-winning Paul And Pauline Calf Video Diaries, Coogan’s Run, Tony Ferrino, Doctor Terrible and all three of Coogan’s live tours.
In 1990, Normal set up comedy production company Baby Cow, executive producing the entire output while at the helm, with highlights including Gavin And Stacey, Alan Partridge, Marion And Geoff, Nighty Night, The Mighty Boosh, Red Dwarf and the Oscar-nominated film Philomena. In 2017, he was honoured with a special BAFTA for services to television.
Born in St Anne’s, Nottingham, Normal now lives in Fairlight, near Hastings, with his wife, screenwriter Angela Pell, and their artist son, Johnny. He performs at literature festivals across the UK and has published 11 poetry collections, while his memoirs, A Normal Family, were an Amazon best seller.
He has been given honorary doctorates by both Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities and has a beer and a bus named after him in the city, where he founded the Nottingham Poetry Festival.
Praised by the Guardian for work that is “succinct, heartrending and peppered with gentle punchlines”, “stuff of proper substance, marrying the suburban beauty of Beatles ballads with the blunt candour of the kitchen sink”, Normal describes new show Sit Down Poetry as being “like stand-up poetry but more thoughtful and relaxed and easier on the legs”.
“I’ve been looking forward to this one for a good while,” concludes Chris Jones. “It’s definitely a highlight of our autumn programme.”
Tickets cost £15 on 01757 708449 or at selbytownhall.co.uk.