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Gillian Clarke (born 8 June 1937) is a Welsh poet, playwright, editor, broadcaster, lecturer and translator from Welsh.
Gillian Clarke was born on 8 June 1937 in Cardiff, and was brought up in Cardiff and Penarth, though for part of the Second World War she was in Pembrokeshire. She lived in Barry for a few years at a house called "Flatholme" on The Parade. Although her parents were Welsh speakers, she was brought up speaking only English and learnt to speak Welsh as an adult - partly as a form of rebellion. She graduated in English from Cardiff University.
Afterwards she spent a year working for the BBC in London.
She then returned to Cardiff, where she married, and had a daughter, Catrin - about whom she has written a poem of the same name - and two sons. She worked as an English teacher, first in the Reardon-Smith Nautical College, and later in Newport College of Art.
In 1990 she was a co-founder of Ty Newydd, a writers' centre in North Wales.
Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain. She has given poetry readings and lectures in Europe and the United States, and her work has been translated into ten languages. A considerable number of her poems are used in the GCSE AQA Anthology.
Clarke has published numerous collections of poetry for adults and children (see below), as well as dramatic commissions and numerous articles in a wide range of publications. She is a former editor of Anglo-Welsh Review (1975–84) and the current president of Tŷ Newydd. Several of her books have received the Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In 1999 Gillian Clarke received the Glyndŵr Award for an "Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales" during the Machynlleth Festival, and she was on the judging panel for the 2008 Manchester Poetry Prize. Clarke reads her poetry for teenagers who are taking their English GCSE school exams. She is part of the GCSE Poetry Live team that also includes John Agard, Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Moniza Alvi, Grace Nichols, Daljit Nagra and Choman Hardi.
In 2008 Gillian Clarke became the third National Poet of Wales. In 2010 she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and became the second Welsh person to receive the honour. In 2011 she was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. In 2012 she received the Wilfred Owen Association Poetry award. The book Ice was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2012.
In 2011 Clarke was a member of the first ever judging panel for a new schools poetry competition named Anthologise, spearheaded by Poet Laureate Carol-Ann Duffy. School students aged 11-18 from around the UK were invited to create and submit their own anthologies of published poetry. The first ever winners of Anthologise were the sixth form pupils of Monkton Combe School, Bath, with their anthology titled The Poetry of Earth is Never Dead.