About the Author

Nicholas Murray is a poet and literary biographer based in the Welsh Marches.  Born in Liverpool and educated at Liverpool University where he read English he is the author of several literary biographies including lives of Franz Kafka, Aldous Huxley, Bruce Chatwin, Andrew Marvell and Matthew Arnold. He has written books about Liverpool and about Bloomsbury; a book about the British Victorian travellers; a book about the British poets of the First World War; fifteen collections of poems; and two novels.  His biography of Matthew Arnold was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1997 and his biography of Aldous Huxley was shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Prize in 2003.  His biography of Franz Kafka has been translated into nine languages.  He has been a regular contributor of poems, essays and reviews to a wide range of newspapers and literary magazines. In 1996 he was the inaugural Gladys Krieble Delmas Fellow at the British Library Centre for the Book and he is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.  He has lectured at literary festivals and universities in Britain, Europe and the United States. From 2003-2007 he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary, University London and from 2010-2011 an RLF Fellow at King’s College, London where he later taught seminars on good writing.  He has been a tutor in biography, travel-writing and creative non-fiction at the City Literary Institute in London. His anti-Brexit verse satire A Dog’s Brexit was published in 2016 and in 2022 Elsewhere: Collected Poems of Nicholas Murray was published by Melos. Bloomsbury and the Poets was published in 2014 and Crossings: a journey through borders in 2016.  He was the winner of the 2015 Basil Bunting Prize for poetry. With his wife, Susan Murray, he runs the small award-winning poetry imprint, Rack Press.

His most recent publication in November 2023 is a poetry pamphlet, The Dictionary Speaks. 

Nicholas Murray is represented by United Agents

Awards and Fellowships

  • Inaugural Gladys Krieble Delmas Fellow British Library Centre for the Book, 1996
  • New York Times, Notable Book of the Year, 1997 (for A Life of Matthew Arnold)
  • Marsh Biography Awards, 2003 (shortlisted for Aldous Huxley: an English Intellectual)
  • Royal Literary Fund Fellow, Queen Mary College University of London, 2003-7
  • Royal Literary Fund Fellow, King’s College, University of London, 2010-11
  • Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary, 2013
  • Robert Graves Prize (formerly Ruskin Prize) 2015 (joint second prize)
  • Basil Bunting Prize, 2015 (first prize)
  • New Welsh Writing Awards 2018 (runner-up)
  • Poetry London Clore Prize 2019 (highly commended)


1993  Bruce Chatwin. Border Lines. Seren.
1995. Plausible Fictions, Rack Press
1996. A Life of Matthew Arnold. Hodder & Stoughton.
1997. After Arnold: Culture and Accessibility. British Library
1999. World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell. Little, Brown
2001. A Short Book About Love. Seren.
2002. Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual. Little, Brown.
2003. Remembering Carmen. Seren.
2004. Kafka. Little, Brown.
2006. The Narrators. Rack Press.
2007. So Spirited A Town: Visions and Versions of Liverpool. Liverpool University Press.
2008. A Corkscrew Is Most Useful: The Travellers of Empire. Little, Brown.
2010. Real Bloomsbury. Seren.
2011a. Get Real! Rack Press.
2011b. The Red Sweet Wine of Youth: British Poets of the First World War. Little, Brown.
2012. Acapulco: New and Selected Poems. Melos.
2013. Of Earth, Water, Air and Fire: Animal Poems. Melos.
2014a. Bloomsbury and the Poets. Rack Press Editions.
2014b. Trench Feet. Rack Press.
2015. The Secrets of the Sea. Melos.
2016a. Crossings: A Journey through Borders. Seren.
2016b. The Migrant Ship. Melos.
2017. A Dog’s Brexit. Melos.
2018. The Museum of Truth. Melos
2019. The Yellow Wheelbarrow. Melos
2020. A Quartet in Winter. Melos
2021. City Lights. Melos
2022. Elsewhere: Collected Poems. Melos
2023. The Dictionary Speaks. Melos