Tony Walsh is an ordinary bloke with an extraordinary talent and a remarkable story.
Overcoming childhood poverty and illness, then working everyday jobs in the communities of his beloved home city of Manchester, he has risen in recent years to become one of the UK’s most widely recognised and most in-demand professional poets. A regular on tv and radio since 2011, Tony performs and teaches internationally and his work has been commissioned by a growing list of major institutions, attracting a legion of fans and celebrity admirers. His work came to worldwide attention in May 2017 when broadcast globally from the vigil for victims of the arena bomb outrage in his beloved Manchester. His performance trended worldwide on social media and his poem, This Is The Place, entered the folklore and fabric of the city he’s still proud to call home – painted onto walls, recited in schools, re-mixed by DJs, even tattooed onto skin.
This iconic performance, together with Tony’s spontaneous closing comment of “choose love, Manchester” was widely credited with helping to define the city’s notably defiant, compassionate and creative response to these terrible events. The poem has since been used and licensed to raise approaching £200,000 for the survivors of the bombing, the families of those who were killed and other grass-roots community causes. Find out more here.
With subsequent acclaimed performances alongside rock and pop superstars at the One Love fundraising concert and the re-opening of Manchester Arena, Tony – also known as Longfella – found himself catapulted onto rock festival mainstages and clocking up 3 million views on Facebook for his next poem, commissioned by the BBC North West Tonight regional news programme. The One Love concert was broadcast and streamed to a global audience of many millions and reached over 15 million people on YouTube afterwards.
“The poet who defined a city with the poem that inspired the world.”
“…Tony Walsh stunned millions of people…”
“…roars of approval and wild applause… stirring…stunning…”
A passionate educator, Tony has led acclaimed, inspirational workshops for organisations as diverse as The Prince’s Teaching Institute, The Prince’s Trust, BBC Blast, Youth Dance England, Manchester Business School, Ledbury Poetry Festival and The National Football Museum. He works in a huge variety of schools, colleges and universities each year as well as at international festivals, in prisons, with charities and companies, and with socially excluded groups of all kinds.
An experienced conference speaker and event host, Tony also offers creative consultancy, keynote presentations, voice-overs, mentoring and after-dinner performances, whilst bringing his wide-ranging experience and creativity to fields including organisational development, personal development, team building, branding and communications.
Tony’s poetry has been commissioned by The Guardian, The Observer, Channel 4 News, Glastonbury Festival, many times by the BBC and by a growing list of major companies,
“Now a national hero…”
With cheering audiences and the odd standing ovation, a growing international audience is now finding out what has been widely known on the UK poetry scene for more than a decade.
“Some poets can make you laugh, some poets can make you cry, very few can do both. Tony Walsh is one such poet. Splitting your sides, breaking your heart and blowing your mind – beware, this guy should come with a health warning!”
Glastonbury Festival, 2011
Sex & Love & Rock & Roll
Tony’s first collection
SEX & LOVE & ROCK&ROLL is a book to unite and inspire us. It’s all about coming together and changing the world
Collected here are poems first heard on BBC1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC6Music; commissioned by Glastonbury and Kendal Calling festivals; published in both the UK and USA; finely tuned by ten years of live performance and acclaimed as:
‘Absolutely beautiful!’ Cerys Matthews, BBC6Music
‘Utterly mesmerising and unforgettable.’ The Fly
‘Excellent!’ Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 2
‘Fabulous stuff…’ Irvine Welsh
Portrait image © Tobias Alexander / Grey Trilby. Prestwich tunnel image © Paul Fosbury