Ruth Padel is a British poet, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has won the UK National Poetry Competition and published six collections of poetry, celebrated for glittering imagery, and for "passion, wit, music, texture and elegance" (Paul Durcan).
Voodoo Shop (2002) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot and Whitbread Prizes. "Visual, sensuous and highly seductive, as if Wallace Stevens had hijacked Sylvia Plath with a dash of punk Sappho thrown in," said the Times Literary Supplement. The Soho Leopard (2004) is a Poetry Book Society Choice.
She wrote the popular "Sunday Poem" column for the Independent on Sunday for three years. Her book from it, 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem includes a ground-breaking introduction to British poetry of the last twenty years, exploring issues from iambic pentameter and feminism to media attitudes to poetry in Britain.
She is a great great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin and a Fellow of The Zoological Society of London. Her short stories on tigers have appeared in Dublin Review, Prospect, and the Daily Mail and been translated into German. "Totally compulsive reading," said one Prospect reader. "I read it on a bus journey and was oblivious to everything going on around me." For the last two years, through ten Asian countries, she has been researching wild tigers - where they live, who protects them and what threatens them - for a travel-memoir to be published by Little, Brown in 2005.
Before publishing poetry she studied classics at Oxford, Paris and Berlin, wrote a PhD on Greek tragedy at Oxford, was the first woman Fellow of Wadham College, Research Fellow at Wolfson College, and taught Greek in Corpus Christi Oxford, Kings Cambridge, and Birkbeck College London. Then she gave up tenure to write freelance. Her non-fiction includes two books for Princeton University Press on Greek tragedy and psychology; and I'm A Man (Faber & Faber 2000), which relates rock music to modern masculinity and ancient Greek heroes.
Her music journalism and broadcasting includes pieces on women in rock (Mojo, The Guardian, Independent Magazine), pre-programme talks for Glyndebourne Festival, features on opera for the Independent and Glyndebourne Festival Programme, an essay for London Review of Books on women's voice in opera, and "Close Encounters", a series of interval talks for operas for BBC 3. The Radio Times described her "From the Archive", chosen as "Pick of the Week", as "dazzling". She also writes arts, wildlife, and travel features for many papers and currently reviews for New York Times, Financial Times and Independent.
Born in London, Ruth has lived for several years in Greece, sung in an Istanbul nightclub, Heraklion Town Choir in Crete and Philippe Caillard's choir in Paris; helped to excavate Minoan tombs, taught modern as well as ancient Greek at Cambridge, Oxford and on the island of Kalymnos, taught myth in Buenos Aires University Psychology Dept, opera at Princeton, and horse-riding in Berlin. She currently lives in London.
Her first job was playing viola in Westminster Abbey for Ј5.
Summer Snow, Hutchinson 1990
Angel, Bloodaxe 1993 (PBS Recommendation)
Fusewire, Chatto, 1996
Rembrandt Would Have Loved You, Chatto, 1998 (PBS Choice)
Voodoo Shop, Chatto, 2002 (PBS Recommendation)
The Soho Leopard, Chatto 2004 (PBS Choice)
In and Out of the Mind: Greek Images of the Tragic Self, Princeton University Press 1992
Whom Gods Destroy: Elements of Greek and Tragic Madness, Princeton University Press 1995
I'm A Man: Sex, Gods and Rock 'n' Roll, Faber and Faber 2000
52 Way of Looking at a Poem, Chatto and Windus 2002
The Radar Angels, BBC Radio 4, January 2001
Tigersex, Dublin Review May 2001
The Last Tiger, Prospect September 2001
We're So Fab We Said All the Right Things, Hyphen: Short Stories by Poets, ed. R. Page, Comma and Carcanet Press, 2003
You Make Me Feel Such A Hero, BBC Radio 4, June 2004
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"I love Ruth Padel's poetry. She is sexy, strong, rhythmic, passionate, fully alive and a whiz with words." - Jeanette Winterson, The Times
"Ruth Padel combines two major gifts. She is a distinguished poet and a quite exceptional reader of the poetry of others, with a delightful skill in explanation and the instinct of a caring, clearsighted guide to how poetry works and why it matters." - George Steiner
"Visual, sensuous and highly seductive poems, as if Wallace Stevens had hijacked Sylvia Plath with a dash of punk Sappho thrown in." – Times Literary Supplement
"Beautifully cadenced, popular and vibrant: the poems all but slink down the page, demanding to be read aloud. The glamour recalls Sex and the City: this alone would make her voice an original one." - Independent on Sunday
"Approachable, contemporary and cool; magnificently varied, daring and imaginative, never short of glittering humour and fabulously rich." - What's On