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Tony Walsh

Poet, Performer, Educator

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

“The poet who defined a city with the poem that inspired the world.”

Forever Manchester

“…roars of approval and wild applause… stirring…stunning…”

TIME magazine

“Now a national hero…”  

(The Guardian)

Setting Sail

Poet Tony Walsh honours Blue Peter on its 60th birthday with his poetic tribute to the nation's longest running childrens programme. Referencing everything from pets to presenters, iconic moments and great achievements the poem will take kids and adults, parents and grandparents through a whole range of emotions and take you back to where and who you were, whatever your era. Produced by CBBC.

'Up 'ere'  

A celebration of the spirit of those in north-west England and their "love shown as defiance". Produced by BBC North West Tonight.

This Is The Place

In May 2017, Tony Walsh found himself standing in front of a wounded Manchester, tasked with finding the words that would help it comprehend and heal from the shocking events of the Arena bombing outrage. His poem, This Is The Place, along with his call to "Choose Love, Manchester" became a rallying call for hope. This is a short documentary about the book that was born from that moment and hte people who helped make it happen. Produced by 
Doodledo Motion Ltd.