Mark Fisher was Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central from 1983 to 2010, becoming opposition spokesman on arts and media following the 1987 general election, and later Minister for the Arts in 1997-98 before his sacking by Tony Blair. In 1992 he introduced his Right to Know private member’s bill, the forerunner of the Freedom of Information Bill. He read English Literature at Cambridge, and before entering politics worked as a film producer and screenwriter, and from 1975 was principal of the Tattenhall Centre of Education in Cheshire, where Adrian Henri was Arts Council Poet in Residence (1979-81), succeeded by Liz Lochhead (1980-83)
One of his first engagements as Arts Minister was to open the first Ledbury Poetry Festival in 1997, and he has maintained his support for the festival as an active Patron over many years, and latterly also as editor of the birthday anthology Hwaet! 20 Years of Ledbury Poetry Festival (Bloodaxe Books/Ledbury Poetry Festival, 2016). His other publications include Whose Cities (with Ursula Owen, Penguin Books, 1991), A New London (with Richard Rogers, Penguin Books, 1992) and Britain’s Best Museums and Galleries (Allen Lane, 2004). He lives in London.