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Norah Hanson

Norah Hanson was born in Hull, in 1937, and has been a proud resident ever since. She spent her working life teaching in secondary schools, then turned to writing after her retirement in 1996. Widowed in 1994, she is nonetheless not short of company – she has six children, seventeen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, and has had much competition success, including being shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Love Letters & Children’s Drawings (2011), Under a Holderness Sky (2013) and Sparks (2016), all published by Valley Press.


Under a Holderness Sky

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Norah Hanson’s much-anticipated second collection of poetry picks up where her first left off; returning to the streets of her native Hull, past and present, to look seventy years of history – and the human condition – squarely in the eye, unflinching, but never losing sight of the warmth and humour that infuses all her work.

Norah paints with the varied colours of life itself, displaying a mastery of emotional range that few can match; where moments of heart-aching poignancy are quickly followed by sparks of knowing, perfectly-aimed wit. If this book catches you in the right mood, you’ll shed tears at both, and feel much better for it.

Love Letters & Children's Drawings

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Norah Hanson is one of Hull's most important modern poets; a natural heir to the city's legendary literary heritage and reputation. Her first collection of poetry, Love Letters & Children's Drawings, delighted readers of all ages upon its publication in November 2011 – and with a hundred copies sold in the first twenty-four hours of release, became the fastest-selling Valley Press title of all time.

Whether reflecting on the past, through derelict landmarks and absent friends, confronting present-day 'domestic dilemmas' with wit and good-humour, or looking to the future through the eyes (and extraordinary energies) of her grandchildren, Norah remains unswervingly honest, entertaining and inventive. Love Letters & Children's Drawings is poetry at its very best – constantly insightful, compelling, and in our opinion, essential.


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Sparks is the third collection of passionate, poignant poetry from much-loved Hull-based writer Norah Hanson. The fiery wit and hard-won wisdom that characterised her previous collections are here, intact, with a new level of clarity and purpose adding weight to the words – without losing the warmth, wonder, and laugh-out-loud observational skills that have won Norah an army of readers across the world.

Six-times a great-grandmother, the poet’s life experience shines through each page; shedding light on triumphs and struggles past, illuminating our troubled (and frequently ridiculous) present, and nodding towards sources of hope for the future.

The ‘sparks’ are cast into the night sky from a VE day bonfire, they ‘dance in the spaces between solid matter’, and they are the poems themselves, flashes of brilliance to be cherished, read, and re-read for decades to come.

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