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Alaric Stephen Graham Sumner
(March 13, 1952 - March 24, 2000) U.K.

Alaric Sumner

Writer, poet, and teacher


Born in Grahamstown, South Africa, his parents met at the Government Codes and Ciphers School at Bletchley Park where they decoded messages from the Japanese navy during the Second World War. They then moved to South Africa where his father was a classics lecturer at Rhodes University. After Alaric Sumner's parents separated his mother, Rosemary, took him to England. She began teaching at A. S. Neill's Summerhill School, and he became a "cottage kid" while joining the older children for lessons.

He studied at the East 15 Acting School in London. He wrote plays which he directed and in which he performed in Bob Cobbing's workshops at the Poetry Society. He used its print shop to produce Excavations and Imstanit Mash in 1976. He also published Henri Chopin, Paul Buck, and Dom Sylvester Houédard. He collaborated with Peter King on the magazine "words worth".

He was a volunteer counsellor for Gay Switchboard. After his health broke down following a volatile relationship he worked for fourteen years as a typesetter. He began using linotype but easily transfered to electronic page make-up. He took an MA in Theatre Studies at Leeds University.

He became the Writer in Residence for 1995 to 1996 at the Tate Gallery in St. Ives. In 1996 he began teaching at Dartington College of the Arts where he specialised in live writing treatment and collaborative methodology. His Waves on Porthmeor Beach in collaboration with Sandra Blow in 1995 won the Renato Giorgi Poetry Award in 1998.

In 1998 his piece The Unspeakable Rooms in collaboration with Rory McDermott travelled to America. In 1999 his Nekyia in collaboration with Joe Hyde toured Rotterdam, Oslo, Montreal, and New York. He died suddenly of an undiagnosed illness eleven days after his 48th. birthday, in St Ives, Cornwall.


Source: excerpts from: The Knitting Circle, U.K. - http://www.sbu.ac.uk/stafflag/people.html

His work include:

  • Excavations and Imstanit Mash (1976)
  • Voices (for 9) (1994)
  • Waves on Porthmeor Beach (1995)
  • Conversations in Colour (1996)
  • The Unspeakable Rooms (1998)
  • Nekyia (1999)
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