Ruth Padel

Associate Director of Poetry

Patsy Rodenburg

Ruth Padel is an award-winning poet ,author, and acclaimed creative writing teacher, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, former Professor of Poetry at King’s College London and frequent speaker at the Jaipur Literature Festival who has long been renowned for her generous, wise and insightful teaching about the reading and understanding, as well as the writing, of poetry.

She taught ancient Greek poetry at Oxford University, and has written two books on Greek drama. Her recent novel Daughters of the Labyrinth, shortlisted for two Greek prizes (‘A thought-provoking novel of identity, history and our times,’ The New European), explores the power of buried memory and the little-known Holocaust on the island of Crete. Her twelve poetry collections, shortlisted for all major UK prizes, include Beethoven Variations (‘She tells the great composer’s life story more profoundly than most biographies’ New York Times) and Darwin, A Life in Poems, which tells the story of Charles Darwin, her own great-great-grandfather. Her latest publication is Watershed, poems on water and climate denial.

She has written a long-running much-loved column on reading contemporary poetry for the UK newspaper Independent on Sunday, served as Chair of Judges for the T. S. Eliot and Forward Poetry Prizes and as Judge for the National Poetry Competition, International Man Booker Prize, Wellcome Trust Science Book Prize.

Her poems have appeared in New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, Harvard Review and elsewhere; and her musical experience] and collaborations with composers (listen to her Twenty-Four Splashes of Denial), make her uniquely qualified to teach the understanding of contemporary poems through their performance. See

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