Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, in 1950. His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? which won the J. R. Ackerley Prize, As If about the murder of the toddler James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, and a memoir of his mother, Things My Mother Never Told Me. His poetry includes the collections Dark Glasses, for which he won the Somerset Maugham Award, and The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper (and Other Poems).
'For a few weeks every spring, the chestnut blazes with white candles. Their flames are so bright you have to shade your eyes when you look at them. Then they gutter and die, and their blooms drip to the earth.'