|Jeremy Robson, Keren Abse, Lynne Hjelmgaard, Maureen Lipman
Dannie Abse’s writing — both his poetry and his prose – is witty, colourful and profound, drawn from his Welsh background, his Jewish identity, and his experiences as a doctor. A sharp eye for humour and a deep humanity add to the potency of his writing.
In this celebratory event, Maureen Lipman joins poet Jeremy Robson, a close friend of Abse’s for over 50 years, his daughter Keren Abse, and poet Lynne Hjelmgaard, his partner in later life, in reading from both his poems and prose, and reminiscing. The event will include rare footage of Dannie Abse reading. Chaired by Michael Joseph, who hosted several memorable Abse events at his iconic bookshop.
This event will last approximately 1 hour, without an interval.
Poet Lynne Hjelmgaard was born in New York and has lived permanently in London since 2011. After crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat with her late husband she wrote the poems collected in her book Manhattan Sonnets. She met Dannie Abse at the Torbay Poetry Festival, himself widowed, and became his partner in his later years. Her most recent poetry collection, The Turpentine Tree, was published last year.
Keren Abse is the eldest of Dannie and Joan Abse’s three children. She obtained an English and History degree from Sussex University and went on to teach English and Media studies in North London Comprehensives and then Sixth form Colleges for 37 years, becoming Head of City & Islington Sixth Form College from 2001-2005 when she retired from teaching , dividing her time between London and Ogmore by Sea in South Wales.
Apart from being one of the country’s’ best-loved and most versatile actresses and the winner of many awards, including an Olivier, Dame Maureen Lipman has written a number of bestselling books as well as witty monologues which she has broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 2023 she won the Best Comedy Performance Award in the British Soap Awards for her portrayal of the feisty Evelyn Plummer in Coronation Street. Her magnificent performance in Martin Sherman’s one-woman play Rose, which she performed on TV and on stage in the West End, received wide acclaim.
Jeremy Robson has been a central figure in the British poetry scene for many years, and instigated the large-scale Poetry and Jazz Concerts in which he and Dannie Abse, along with many leading poets, were regular readers and which continue. He also went on a poetry reading tour of Israel with Abse and Ted Hughes. His most recent poetry books are The Heartless Traffic and Chagall’s Moon. He ran his own publishing company, Robson Books, for some 40 years, publishing many bestselling authors, as he entertainingly recalls in his anecdotal memoir Under Cover (Biteback Books).
Michael Joseph started so called adult life as a solicitor; then worked for Penguin Books and segued to founding Josephs Bookstore & Café Also in 1994. He retired from active service in 2018. Now an apprentice scribbler and adored grandpa.