Liverpool Hope welcomes acclaimed writer Jeff Young for 2024 Gerard Manley Hopkins Lecture

Liverpool Hope University has announced that it is delighted to welcome acclaimed writer, Jeff Young, for the 2024 Gerard Manley Hopkins Lecture on Thursday 9th May.

A Liverpool-based screenwriter and playwright, Jeff is one of the BBC’s most experienced radio dramatists. He released his memoir, Ghost Town: A Liverpool Shadowplay, in 2020, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and longlisted for the Portico Prize.

Described by Costa Award judges as ‘a stunningly beautiful book about the ways time, memory and life shape and change cities, families and all of us’, Ghost Town is a love letter to the hidden Liverpool of Jeff’s youth, mixing memoir, history and photography.

Through readings from Ghost Town and a new essay, Jeff’s lecture will explore the idea that a city is more than ‘property’, that the spaces in between are where the city comes to life – its haunted spaces, dream places, memory places and the movement of the crowd through the streets.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Jeff said: “I’m delighted to be giving the 2024 Gerard Manley Hopkins Lecture, following in the footsteps of the likes of Marilynne Robinson, Ian Rankin, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Cal Flyn.

“I’ve long been in awe of the fact that Hopkins walked the streets of Liverpool and I’m looking forward to talking about those streets and the idea of walking ‘the spaces in between’ the buildings, the places where the city comes to life through dreams, memory and the imagination.

“I’ll be talking about these ideas and reading from my Liverpool memoir, Ghost Town. I’m looking forward to it immensely.”

Catherine Morris, Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Liverpool Hope University, added: “Jeff is one of Liverpool’s finest writers and we are excited to host him for this year’s lecture and conversation, which promises to be an inspiring and thought-provoking evening.

“Creative nonfiction and life writing is a major part of our course here at Hope. We encourage students to use their own experiences of Liverpool’s culture, archives, locations and history as inspiration for original new writing about the self and the city.

“Ghost Town beautifully captures the sights, sounds and memories of the Liverpool in which Jeff grew up, so this is a great opportunity for our students and the wider community to delve into his writing and his unique perspective on this wonderful city.”

The Gerard Manley Hopkins Lecture is a public lecture series celebrating contemporary writing. It is named after the leading English poet who lived and worked as a priest at St Francis Xavier’s Church in Everton – the site of Liverpool Hope’s Creative Campus.

Jeff will follow in the footsteps of an impressive list of writers to have delivered the lecture, including Sir Ian Rankin, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, the Pulitzer Prize winning Marilynne Robinson and Cal Flyn, winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2021.

The 2024 Gerard Manley Hopkins Lecture takes place in the Eden Arbour Room at the University’s Hope Park campus on Thursday 9th May. The event begins at 5pm with a drinks reception, with the lecture and Q&A taking place between 5.30-6.30pm.

It is open to the public and you can reserve your place for free in the Hope Online Store.

Liverpool Hope University is one of the four Catholic universities in England and Wales.