Andrew Greig

b. 1951


As activities, writing poetry and climbing have few connections, apart from a heightened sense of being and awareness, of being fully engaged. Andrew Greig

Orkney/ This Life

Andrew Greig

Norman's Goodnight

Andrew Greig

Interlude on Mustagh Tower

Andrew Greig

In The Tool Shed

Andrew Greig

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About Andrew Greig

Andrew Greig's second collection Men on Ice in 1977 changed his life. He had been what he calls an "armchair climber", attracted by "the imagery and intensities" of climbing - however, mountaineer Mal Duff took Greig's metaphors literally and invited him on a real Himalayan expedition. Greig climbed on three such expeditions, which led him to write books on them, which took him on to writing novels. Distinctions and prizes in three mediums have established Andrew Greig as one of the leading Scottish writers of his generation

Yet Greig considers poetry to be a higher art form - second only to music (Greig is also a musician) - using the analogy: "Prose is draughts, poetry is chess. Chess in four dimensions…. the additional element of sound, of cadence and phrasing." He carries this attention to the music of language into his prose, which reviews have described as "lyrical" and "dazzling".

Born 1951 in Bannockburn, Greig grew up in Anstruther, Fife. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh and is a former Writing Fellow at both Glasgow and Edinburgh universities, and Scottish Arts Council Scottish/Canadian Exchange Fellow. His mentor was the great Scottish poet Norman MacCaig, to whom he wrote the tender elegy "Norman's Goodnight", which you can hear on this Archive recording. This poem perfectly illustrates Edwin Morgan's observations when he describes Greig as a poet "of sensitivity and resilience. He deals with high-risk situations - from mountaineering to love - and is particularly good at presenting the gamut of feelings involved in rites of passage: high endeavour, commitment, holding back, drift, release."

In her review of Andrew Greig's This Life, This Life: New and Selected Poems, Helen Mort notes how candid a poet he is. This book charts his childhood and adolescence, marriage break-up and later breakdown; it charts life-threatening illness and recovery, and throughout, the over-riding thrill of being alive in a world where the stakes are stimulatingly high: "Laughter rings across the ice. Why not?/ None of us will die today – that's immortality/you can draw on like a cigarette,/ harsh and sweet, the way we like it." (from 'Interlude on Mustagh Tower'.)

Andrew Greig's introductions to the occasions for the poems on this Archive recording are subtle and illuminating, and his voice is beautifully nuanced as he sings life into the words.

This recording recording was made at the Audio Workshop, London on September 9th 2010 and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.

Prizes

1972 Eric Gregory Award

1972 Eric Gregory Award

1985 Boardman Tasker Memorial Prize (shortlist)<i>Summit Fever: the Story of an Armchair Climber on the 1984 Mustagh Tower Expedition</i>

1985 Boardman Tasker Memorial Prize (shortlist)<i>Summit Fever: the Story of an Armchair Climber on the 1984 Mustagh Tower Expedition</i>

1992 McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year (shortlist) <i>Electric Brae: A Modern Romance</i>

1992 McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year (shortlist) <i>Electric Brae: A Modern Romance</i>

1996 Romantic Novelists' Association Award (shortlist) <i>The Return of John McNab</i>

1996 Romantic Novelists' Association Award (shortlist) <i>The Return of John McNab</i>

2004 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award <i>In Another Light</i>

2004 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award <i>In Another Light</i>

Selected bibliography

At the Loch of the Green Corrie Canongate 2010

To Get Higher: The complete mountain poems Birlinn 2011

White Boats (with Catherine Lucy Czwerkawska) Garret...

Men On Ice Canongate, 1977

Surviving Passages Canongate, 1982

Summit Fever: The story of an Armchair Climber on the...

A Flame in Your Heart (with Kathleen Jamie)Bloodaxe, 1986

Kingdoms of Experience: Everest, the Unclimbed Ridge...

The Order of the Day Bloodaxe, 1990

Electric Brae: A Modern Romance Canongate, 1992

Western Swing: Adventures with the Heretical Buddha...

The Return of John McNab Headline, 1996

When They Lay Bare Faber and Faber, 1999

That Summer Faber and Faber, 2000

Into You Bloodaxe, 2001

Word Jig: New Fiction from Scotland(with Michel Faber...

In Another Light Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004

Preferred Lies Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006

This Life, This Life: Selected Poems 1970-2006...

Romanno Bridge Quercus, 2008

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