Matthew Francis is a poet, novelist, short story writer and critic. He is a Professor in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University, and is interested in twentieth-century and contemporary poetry and fiction, and in particular the twentieth-century Scottish poet W.S. Graham.
His first novel, WHOM, was published by Bloomsbury in 1989, and his first collection of poetry, Blizzard (Faber, 1996), was shortlisted for the Forward First Book Prize and won the Southern Arts Literature Prize. His second, Dragons (Faber, 2001) was shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the Welsh Book of the Year. His poem, ‘The Ornamental Hermit’, won first prize in the TLS/Blackwell’s Poetry Competition. He is the editor of W. S. Graham’s New Collected Poems (Faber, 2004) and has published a study of Graham, Where the People Are (Salt, 2004).
He was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets in 2004. Mandeville (2008), a collection of poems inspired by the medieval travel-writer Sir John Mandeville, received outstanding reviews in The Observer and The Guardian. His collection of short stories, Singing a Man to Death (Cinnamon), was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2013. His latest novel, The Book of the Needle (Cinnamon, 2014) is set in Wales and London in the seventeenth century.
His poetic version of The Mabinogi was published by Faber and Faber in June 2017, and was chosen for the 2017 Exchange Bookcase. His most recently collection of poetry, Wing, (Faber and Faber, 2020) is an astonishing and meticulous exploration of the richness of nature, and is chosen to our 2020–21 Bookcase.