Author profile: Simon French

Simon French was born in Sussex where he spent an idyllic childhood and adolescence loitering between the sea and the South Downs. His father was a private investigator and his mother worked in a petrol station. They didn’t encourage poetry. He wrote his first poem at the age of nine. In the 1980’s Simon self-published several poetry pamphlets (under a non-de-plume) and to publicise them would tour locally with The Noisy Poetry Show, a mixture of poetry, music, robotics, mime and stage effects. As well as playing in local rock bands, Simon also had his own local radio breakfast show featuring surreal comedic characters and dodgy storylines.

In the 1990’s he moved to Derby where he continued to write poetry and performed at many open-mic events around the Midlands. For two years he hosted his own monthly poetry open-mic night at Deda (Derby Dance Centre) and appeared on BBC Radio Derby as their Poet Laureate for National Poetry Day.

Simon has written two plays. The critically-acclaimed Honeymoon in Flames, a monologue in the voice of Eva Braun, and The Midnight Pharmacy, a Beckett styled two-hander, dealing with racism. His poems have appeared in many publications.

Simon runs Derby City Poets, a poetry workshop group and is also a member of Derby Stanza. To both groups he acknowledges a debt of gratitude for their invaluable critiquing. Joyriding Down Utopia Avenue is his first full-length collection.