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Henry Normal

Henry Normal

Henry was born in St Ann’s, Nottingham in 1956. A comedian, television producer and poet, he has accompanied Pulp on tour, co-wrote The Royle Family with Caroline Aherne and The Parole Officer with Steve Coogan, with whom he set up the production company Baby Cow in 1999. In 2016, Henry founded the Nottingham Poetry Festival and received an honorary doctorate of letters by Nottingham Tent University.

About Henry

During the eighties, Henry performed over a thousand poetry readings at theatres, Art Centres, Pubs, Clubs, factories, hospitals, pop concerts and on TV and radio. Around 1990 at the Edinburgh Festival he was given my own TV series for Channel 4.

Working in TV, Henry co-wrote the Royle Family, The Mrs Merton Show, Paul and Pauline Calf, Coogan's Run, Tony Ferrino, Mrs Merton and Malcolm and the film 'The Patrol Officer'. He produced over 400 shows, many award winning including Gavin and Stacey, Alan Partridge, Moone Boy, The Mighty Boosh, Nighty Night and the multi Oscar nominated film Philomena.

His recent BBC Radio 4 shows and books have included poetry about his son's autism.  Staring Directly at the Eclipse published by Five Leaves was Henry's 11th poetry collection. A selected works Travelling Second Class Through Hope is due out 20th April 2017.

My biggest influence 

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and Saturday Night Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe are the two most influential books of my life. Seeing a reflection of the real world captured with such honesty inspired me to write.

Spike Milligan's Small Dreams of a Scorpion was the first poetry book that caught my attention. That someone so funny could write with such passion and such vulnerability I found very moving.

During my twenties I had a thirst for reading and read many life stories, my favourite being Samual Goldwyn's.

I devoured many comedy books, everything from Alan Coren and James Thurber to the Mash series.

I enjoyed cartoon books like Honeysett and Johnny Hart and came across a poet Piet Hien who wrote thousands of small aphorisms he called Grooks many of which I remember today.

Currently I'm reading Fall down 7 times stand up 8 by Naoki Higashida which is a follow up to his book The reason I jump. Essential reading to anyone interested in autism or the human brain.

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