JAMES L. ORWIN worked for 34 years (to 2016) as a self-employed Painter and Decorator. He writes poetry, and music, and was formerly lead vocalist (and one of the songwriters) with the band Passion Spent.
A former committee member of The Philip Larkin Society, he was assistant editor of the Society’s biannual journal, About Larkin, in 2002 and 2003, first under Professor James Booth, and then under Jean Hartley and Maeve Brennan. In February 2000 he originated the Society’s award winning web site, for which he was administrator and webmaster until January 2004 (roles he resumed at the end of 2009, but resigned in March 2015). In 2002 he co-organized, with Dr John Osborne, ‘Larkin In Context’ – the Second Hull International Conference on the work of Philip Larkin, where he presented a paper on musical settings of Philip Larkin’s poetry. He and John Osborne teamed up again in 2005 to organize ‘Larkin and After’ – a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the poet’s death.
In June 2010, as part of the Larkin25 programme commemorating the 25th anniversary of Philip Larkin’s death, he coordinated and curated all night north, an album recording project for which some of the best songwriters from Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire were asked to compose songs using poems by Philip Larkin as lyrics.
On 9 August 2022, the centenary of the birth of Philip Larkin, he publshed his research on musical settings of Larkin’s poetry Astonishing the Brickwork: Philip Larkin set to music. The book was published by Dancing Sisters in association with The Philip Larkin Society, and is available from the dedicated larkintomusic.com website.