Ursula Askham Fanthorpe,  CBE (1929 – 2009)

UA Fanthorpe (always referred to as ‘UA’, not Ursula) was born in Kent in 1929, read English at Oxford, then trained as a teacher. She taught at Cheltenham Ladies’ College for 16 years before making a complete change in the 1970s to work as a receptionist at the Burden Institute, a Bristol neurological hospital, now Stoke Park House, overlooking the M32 motorway.

In 1974 she started writing poetry; some of her most moving work was inspired by patients with neurological injuries. In 1989 she gave up work to write poetry full time.

Her published poetry collections include Side Effects (1978), Standing To (1982), Neck-Verse (1992), Consequences (2000) and Queueing for the Sun (2003). UA Fanthorpe was awarded a CBE in 2001 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2003.

She lived in Wotton-under-Edge with her partner and ‘power behind the throne’, Rosie Bailey; they became civil partners in March 2006, and published a jointly written collection, From Me To You: Love Poems, in 2007. UA Fanthorpe died on April 28, 2009.


‘UA Fanthorpe: Life of the English Poet’, The Independent, October 31, 2003.
Wikipedia: UA Fanthorpe

Andrew Foyle
Last edited: 6/11/2011

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