Maureen Duffy at 80: In Times Like These

Scrivener, prophet, and friend

Header image: A stack of Lucifers, 1951-1954. Held at the King's College London Archives, K/SER1/63.

Scholar Charles Lock and writer Marina Warner trace Maureen’s passages through writing: Warner recollects a literary tour of the north of England, and Lock examines the many and varied manifestations of the written word she has occupied over the course of her writing life.

Charles Lock conducts an analysis of Maureen Duffy as Scrivener: her craft of writing as an act of physical, manual construction with words, and the autobiographical evidence we find in her novels of how she came to writing. Lock also explores Duffy’s literature in the context of an ever-shifting - ever less helpful to writers - publishing industry, which an assessment of Maureen Duffy’s writing in relation to publishing houses over time, ending up with the self-publication of her latest novel In Times Like These (2013), will lay bare.

Through Lock’s paper, we can consider Maureen’s role as copyist or scribe - the jobs which entail writing; and finally far beyond mere copyist - her own literary creations characteristically faithful to her literary forbears, brimming with references to the diverse literary culture and heritage to which she owes her own profession and who, in her writing, she never forgets.

Writer Marina Warner gives an account of the literary tour she and Rose Tremain took with Maureen Duffy in 1982 when Duffy was already well established, the others starting their careers. Warner recounts how they cheer each other on, meeting audiences across the depressed industrial north, using friendship and solidarity to aid the often solitary pursuit of professional writing.

Katie Webb, Editor

Browse articles, 'Scrivener, Prophet, Friend'


Maureen Duffy: Scrivener and Prophet

by Charles Lock


Maureen Duffy photographed by Euan Duff circa 1964.

On Tour with Maureen Duffy (1982)

by Marina Warner


How to cite pages in this special feature

Author name, 'Page title', Strandlines Maureen Duffy Special Feature, edited by Fran Allfrey and Katie Webb, November 2020 <URL>.

You will find the author name at the beginning and end of each text in this collection. For pieces without an author name, please cite Katie Webb.

We recommend using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to generate a stable link for the page(s) you need