Alfred Edward Housman (March 26, 1859 - April 30, 1936), usually known as A.E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar, now best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Nick Laird was born in 1975 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He was a scholar at Cambridge University and spent a year at Harvard as a visiting fellow. He also worked for several years as a litigator and arbitration lawyer in London and Warsaw. The author of the poetry collections To A Fault (Faber/Norton) and On Purpose (Faber/Norton), he has received several prestigious awards for both poetry and fiction, including the 2005 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Award. His first novel, Utterly Monkey (Fourth Estate/Harper Collins) won the Betty Trask Prize for best first novel and was shortlisted for Irish Novel of the Year and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. His second novel, Glover's Mistake, was published by 4th Estate in the spring of 2009.
Housman's singular vision seized hold of the English imagination, inspiring not just a literary following but a generation of composers, like George Butterworth and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who sought to do musically what Housman had done with verse: to create a new and authentically English kind of song. --New Yorker