Professor Andrew Motion was born in London on 26 October 1952, and read English at University College, Oxford. An acclaimed poet (and champion of poetry), critic, biographer and lecturer, Andrew Motion became Poet Laureate in 1999, succeeding Ted Hughes and preceding Carol Ann Duffy. He was awarded the Newdigate Prize at Oxford for his poem ‘Inland’, included in his first collection of poems, The Pleasure Steamers, published in 1977. His collection, The Cinder Path (2009), was shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. His latest collection is The Customs House (Faber and Faber, 2012). He is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and is co-founder of The Poetry Archive. He was knighted in 2009 for his services to literature.