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Tony Harrison
Date Published
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Reliance on devices like the photograph and slide
will lead, I rather fear, to linguistic suicide.
We must keep on challenging language to engage
with all we suffer from in this new modern age.

This epic sweep of a play takes us from a contemporary Westminster Abbey to the Arctic ship Fram or Forward specially built by the famous Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen who, with his suicidal companion, Johansen, makes a bid on foot for the North Pole in the 1890s. Though incompatible, they share a bear fur sleeping-bag through the long winter. Nansen, still haunted by Johansen’s ghost is appointed to the League of Nations. As a figurehead of Russian famine relief in 1922, he conducts the first celebrity campaign, searching for means, however shocking, to make people care.

Fram premiered at the National Theatre in April 2007.


Tony Harrison was born in Leeds in 1937. His volumes of poetry include The Loiners (winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), Continuous, v. (broadcast on Channel 4 in 1987, winning the Royal Television Society Award), The Gaze of the Gorgon (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry) and Laureate’s Block. Recognised as Britain’s leading theatre and film poet, Tony…

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