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Philip Hobsbaum

  • Philip Hobsbaum

    Philip Hobsbaum

    Source: Courtesy of Gerry Cambridge,

Poet and Literary Scholar
Born 29 June 1932, London, England.
Died 28 June 2005.

A highly influential poet and literary critic, who had a great impact on many writers including Seamus Heaney, Alasdair Gray and Liz Lochhead.

Connection to the University of Glasgow: Professor

Discover more literary scholars; poets on the University of Glasgow Story website


The following achievement is associated with Philip Hobsbaum:

Encouragement of young creative writers
Philip Hobsbaum’s greatest contribution to the international literary canon was his lifelong encouragement and nurturing of young writers.


Philip Dennis Hobsbaum (1932-2005) was Professor of English Literature, 1985 to 1997.

Born in London, Hobsbaum moved to Yorkshire during the Second World War. He studied English at Downing College, Cambridge under FR Leavis and gained a PhD from the University of Sheffield in 1968.

Hobsbaum was a lecturer in English at Queen's University in 1962 before coming to Glasgow as a lecturer in 1966. He was Senior Lecturer in 1972 and Reader in 1979, before he became a titular professor.

Hobsbaum is best remembered for the informal creative writing group he founded in Glasgow, the members of which met in local pubs and in his flat. Among those who benefited from encouragement and criticism at meetings of the group were Alasdair Gray, James Kelman and Jeff Torrington. With Willy Maley he set up the MLitt programme in Creative Writing at the University in 1995.

The Papers of Philip Hobsbaum are held by the University of Glasgow's Archive and Special Collections. The collection constitutes a range of material which documents Hobsbaum's activities and achievements in literature and education, including papers relating to the informal creative writing groups which Hobsbaum established while working in London, Belfast and Glasgow.