Recent events


July 2014

July 5, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Reading at Little Gidding in T S Eliot Festival @ Steeple Gidding Church

Ruth will read ‘Seven Words & an Earthquake’ from her new book Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, with members of the Hereward Ensemble, in Steeple Gidding Church at the 9th T S Eliot Festival

July 3, All day
Chatto & Windus publish Ruth’s new collection of poems

Chatto & Windus publish Ruth’s new collection of poems, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, poems on and around the Middle East .

“In Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, Ruth Padel’s powerful new collection, rift in the Holy Land speaks to the heart of human feeling. ‘Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.” Through images of conflict but also craftsmanship, these poems trace a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction.

“An oud, central instrument of Middle Eastern music, is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives arson. A Polish Jew in a Nazi camp carves a chain from a broom-handle and a boy in a Palestinian refugee camp learns to dance capoeira. Iran announces its enrichment of plutonium in a dance around a desk of microphones and an anxious guide shows a journalist round Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the centre of the book is a sequence on the Seven Last Words from the Cross.

“Uniting this varied collection is an insight shared by all three faiths from the Middle East, of human life as vulnerable, as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music whose patternings articulate and renew our experience. The final poem talks of restoration. “What will survive are meanings we have found/ in what the world has made.”We are saved, say these haunting poems, by our need for form and desire to create. “Making is our defence against the dark.”

June 2014

June 15, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Conversation with Irish singer-songwriter Cathy Dave @ Borris House, Borris Festival

At the Borris House Festival of Ideas, Ruth talks to Irish songwriterand horse rescuer Cathy Davey, about creatures, wild and tame, rescued and threatened: and also about music and lyrics. Both are prone to break out in song.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm ,
Reading from sequence of poems on Christ’s Seven Last Words from the Cross @ Borris House Festival

Ruth reads and introduces her sequence of poems on Christ’s words from the Cross from her new collection, just about to be published: LEARNING TO MAKE AN OUD IN NAZARETH

June 11, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Ruth chairs the second ZSL Writers Talks on Endangered Species in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature: @ ZSl London Zoo

Ruth chairs the second ZSL Writers Talks on Endangered Species in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature. Travel writer Sara Wheeler talks on the Arctic in Penguin Beach, followed by a ZSL conservation scientist on endangered penguins

May 2014

May 10, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Ruth talks on Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgewood at Maer Hall @ Maer Hall, near Stoke on Trent, Staffs

Ruth talks on Charles Darwin and his wife Emma Wedgewood at Maer Hall, Staffs, home of the Wedgewoods, the place he thought of as Paradise when he was young and where he proposed to Emma.

May 7 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Ruth chairs the first 2014 ZSL Writers Talks on Endangered Species @ ZSL London Zoo

Ruth chairs the first of the 2014 Writers Talks on Endangered Species at ZSL London Zoo

April 2014

April 5 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Ruth reads poems at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival @ The Wilson: Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

A reading with Christina Newton: Ruth reads from The Mara Crossing and also her forthcoming collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth: poems on and around the Middle East, at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival:

March 2014

March 26, 2014 @ 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm
With the Endellion String Quartet: Ruth reads between movements of Haydn’s string quartet The Seven Last Words from the Cross

a sequence at the heart of her forthcoming collection of poems on and around the Middle East (Learning to Play an Oud in Nazareth, Chatto, July 2014) between movements of Haydn’s string quartet The Seven Last Words played by the Endellion Quartet.

March 1, 2014 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Ruth talks on her old tutor, “Memories of ER Dodds” at Commemorating ER Dodds

Ruth talks about her old Oxford tutor, “Memories of ER Dodds” at an all day conference at Corpus Christi College, Commemorating ER Dodds, celebrating different aspects of his life and work


February 22, 2014 – February 23-2014
Ruth reads from The Mara Crossing at conference on migration studies

Ruth reads from The Mara Crossing an at international conference ,on the way migration research has re-configured the social sciences, which celebrates the 10 year anniversary of COMPAS

February 3, 2014 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Ruth reads from The Mara Crossing in Camden

Ruth reads from The Mara Crossing before a concert by Ensemble Matisse

The Forge Venue
3-7 Delancey Street
London NW1 7NL

January 2014

January 17, 2014 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Translation in Play and Practice

Translation in Play and Practice
60 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3BL

At the Free Word Centre, London, Ruth joins a panel discussion on literary translation with Ros Schwartz,George Szirtes, Boyd Tonkin and Aamer Hussein, to celebrate 3 years of International journal Asymptote.

MAY 2013

May 31, 2013 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Charing Cross Road
London WC2H


June 11 , 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

In the second of the ZSL series of Writers’ Talks on Endangered Animals, Ruth chairs Helen Dunmore reading a specially commssioned piece on endangered Sumatran Tigers and Sarah Christie, Head of Regional Programmes in Zoological Society of London’s Conservation. Audience have a chance to ask questions of the keepers as well as Helen Dunmore and Sarah Christie.

June 12 , 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Poetry Guest at Bedford Park Festival @ BEDFORD PARK

Ruth reads a selection of her favourite poems, explains why those poems matter to her and reads a couple of her own.

June 14 , 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

At the first public screening of the “Making it Home” films during Refugee Week in Glasgow, Ruth will read poems from The Mara Crossing, her book of poems and prose on migration. To to raise public awareness of issues affecting refugees and asylum seeker, the Refugee Survival Trust has made film based on poems, including Ruth’s poem “Choice”: see

June 20, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

In the third of the ZSL Writers’ Talks, Ruth chairs Glyn Maxwell on the Mallorcan Midwife Toad, rescued from extinction by zoo breeding – which the audience can see in action, Glyn reads specially commissioned poems for the event in the Amphbian section fo the Reptile House, and is partnered by a conservation scientist talking about the conservation programme for the unique Midwife Toad.


July 7 , 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Opening of West Cork Literary Festival @ St. Brendan’s School Hall Bantry, Ireland

At the opening reception for the West Cork Literary Festival 2013, the J.G. Farrell Fiction Award will be presented and Ruth will read her poem, The Mill Wheel at Bantry, first published in The Stinging Fly, which will appear in her forthcoming collection of poems, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth.

July 10 , 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
WRITING NATURE @ St. Brendan’s School Hall

Ruth will talk about nature writing – engaging with nature in words – and read from her own nature writing in several genres. In poetry, from her acclaimed verse biography of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin and mysteries of animal migration in The Mara Crossing. In prose, from her adventures in Asian jungles, exploring the risks facing wild tigers and tiger conservationists, and from her acclaimed novel, Where the Serpent Lives, featuring field zoology and wildlife crime in Britain and India, for which she researched a King Cobra reserve in the Western Ghats, Karnataka.

July 12, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
THE SEA THE SEA @ Mariners Arms

Ruth chairs A Celebration of the Sea in Literature with Beth Powning, Pat Boran & Claire Kilroy.”At a time when our oceans are so much at risk, this panel will discuss the sea as inspiration and read some of the great literary passages from the grand masters, as well as the panellists’ own works.”

July 16 , 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Ruth in the Tropical Bird House ZSL London Zoo @ Blackburn Pavilion London Zoo

Ruth will read specially commissioned new work on the Amethyst Starling, Bleeding Heart Dove and Amazilia Hummingbird in the Blackburn Pavilion at ZSL London zoo,,850,AR.html partnered by Professor Tim Blackburn, Director of the Zoological Society of London’s Instutte of Zoology,,1069,AR.html talking about the conservation of tropical birds.


August 27 , 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Ruth chairs Mark Haddon at ZSL London Zoo @ Giants of the Galapagos

Ruth chairs Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, on Galapagos tortoises, partnered with a conservation scinetist talking about their conservation



1st January BBC Radio 4, 16:30–17:00pm, POETRY WORKSHOP Episode 3: Ruth led a workshop of Newcastle poets with poems on the theme of ‘The City’

8th January, BBC World Service, “The Forum”
Ruth discusses the concept of “home”, rising out of The Mara Crossing, with Stefana Broadbent, digital anthropologist, and urban housing and poverty specialist Dr Sunil Kumar and suggested that in many ways, home is not a stable concept: it is something people are always searching for but always leaving.

16th January Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, Bedfordshire, 12.30-2.00pm: Ruth reads bird poems from The Mara Crossing to staff of the RSPB headquarters


2nd February Topping & Company, Booksellers, The Paragon, Bath, 7.30pm, Ruth readfrom her new collection The Mara Crossing

27th February–2nd March Wild Things II, Radio 3 22.45 pm. In her second series of these popular essays, Ruth examined the biology, and our responses to it, of more British wild animals: Wild Ponies, Wild Salmon, Owl, Snake and Squirrel


4th Mar 16:30–17:00, BBC Radio 4 Poetry Workshop Episode 4 Ruth lead a workshop with the Junkbox Poets at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.

8th March, Queen Mary College, Mile End Road, Ruth read from The Mara Crossing at a seminar, Migration, Memory and Identity, to celebrate the opening of QMC’s new Arts building.

12th March, Ayewrite, Glasgow Book Festival, Ruth read from her new collection The Mara Crossing


Ruth taught a Poetry Workshop at Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Hania, Crete




24th-28th April, Galway, Mephisto Theatre Company put on a stage version of Ruth’s book Darwin – A Life in Poems–A-Life-in-Poems at the Town Hall, Galway

26th April 8:30pm, Town Hall Theatre, Galway Ruth read from The Mara Crossing with Christopher Reid at Cúirt International Festival of Literature


9th May, Patras University, Greece. Ruth gave a talk in in Greek on “Darwin, science and poetry” at a symposium on Science and the Humanities, and taught a class of literature students at the University


Saturday 2nd June Hay-on-Wye HowTheLightGetsIn Festival of Music and Philosophy

Ruth took part in a panel discussion of the relationship between science and poetry,
with Mary Midgeley, 10.30am; hosted a HowTheLightGetsIn lunch to discuss the morning’s events; and then gave a reading from The Mara Crossing and talked about migration. See the video at


8th-14th July, Bantry, Cork, Ireland, West Cork Literary Festival

Ruth gave five poetry workshops at Bantry School and on 14th July read from The Mara Crossing at Bantry Library

Ruth reading about migration, at St Oswalds Church, Grasmere July 2012

24th July, Grasmere Ruth read from The Mara Crossing for the Wordsworth Trust at St Oswald’s Church


2nd October, Ruth gave a talk at ITE FORTH, the scientific research centre in Iraklion, Crete, on “Darwin, Migration and the Restlessness of Life”

Talk in Heraklion, October 2012 On Darwin and pain Bar headed geese migrating across Himalaya


Ruth took part in four events:

Sunday 7th October, 12. 00. As a Judge for the Wellcome Science Book prize, Ruth took part in a panel, chaired by Mark Lawson, discussing scenes of childbirth in literature.

8.00 pm Ruth took part in a panel discussion of erotica in literature with Bel Mooney, Brook Magnanti and Bidisha.

Monday 8th October 12.00, Ruth took part in a panel discussion on love and relationship in literature.

5.30 pm Ruth read from The Mara Crossing in Cheltenham Book Festival’s Poetry Café

October 11th, Philip Larkin Centre, Hull University

3.00 pm Ruth gave a poetry workshop to Creative Writing students

6.30 pm Ruth read poems on migration and took part in a discussion on migration with sculptor Robert Koenig.

On migration, in Hull University Art Gallery







23rd October Ruth will read at Chorleywood Festival: see


9th September 11.00 am, for Shrewsbury School, Ruth will give an address on “The Spiritual Dimension of Education’ in at St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, the church where Charles Darwin attended services as a boy.


Edinburgh International Book Festival, Saturday-Sunday 25th-26th August

Saturday 25th August, 5:30pm – 6:15pm, Peppers Theatre

For Amnesty International, Ruth will join other writers in paying tribute to Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and reading from his work

Sunday 26th August

10:15am – 11:15am in the Guardian Spiegeltent, Ruth will read from The Mara Crossing and discuss it with James Naughtie of the Today Programme

5.00 in ScottishPower Studio Theatre

Ruth will join Simon Pepper, founding director of WWF Scotland and Alistair McIntosh in a debate on “The Value of Environment”


Tuesday 25th January, Quaglino’s, London, Costa Awards.
As a Judge for the Poetry Costa Awards, Ruth attends the presentation ceremony in central London and awards the Poetry Prize.

31st January – 4th February, 22.45 pm Wild Things: The Essay Radio 3
Poet and writer Ruth Padel begins a new series of The Essay, exploring our reactions to five British wild animals: Deer, Butterfly, Robin, Badger and Fox. In this first programme Ruth investigates how history and literature have shaped British reactions to the deer


8th February University College London, 7.00 pm
Ruth Padel is Writer in Residence at UCL’s Environment Institute in partnership with the History Department. While here she is finishing a book of mixed poems and prose on migration. She will give an informal reading from this and other work, prose and poems, focussing on creativity and imagination in life and science as well as poetry, in the rooms of History Professor Kathy Burke

26th February Bournemouth: Ruth talks to the Dorset Humanists Association about Darwin, creativity and belief


3rd March, Pearson Theatre, University College London, 7.15 pm
Classical Question Time: Ruth joins a panel of other writers concerned with antiquity, such as Frederick Rafael and Tom Holland, to answer questions from students and teachers on the relevance and usefulness of classical learning

Saturday 5th March Royal Festival Hall: World Book Night 9.00 pm
Ruth reads from Where the Serpent Lives alongside other novelists including Margaret Atwood and Mark Haddon

Tuesday 8th March, Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London, W1 7.00 pm. Poet Ruth Padel joins actress Alaknanda Samarth for a reading from Ruth’s first novel Where the Serpent Lives, set in various locations in India, to launch the paperback edition.

March 19th 7.00 pm Arthur Probsthain Bookshop, 41 Great Russell Street WC1. Poet Ruth Padel recreates the life of Charles Darwin and reads from her acclaimed verse biography Darwin – A Life in Poems


May 6th Baltimore, Maryland USA. Ruth Padel, great-great-grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, reads from Darwin – A Life in Poems and talks about his illness at a Historical Clinicopathological Conference for the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore. These conferences consider the mysterious illnesses of famous historical figures.

May 7th Bose Pacia Gallery, 163 Plymouth Street. Brooklyn, NY 11201 Ruth Padel talks about the work of Indian painter Gieve Patel and reads “The Letter Home,” a poem dedicated to him, inspired by one of his paintings and written in his Mumbai studio

17th May, The Brompton Garage, 1 North Terrace, London SW3
At a fundraising event for Kettles Yard, Cambridge, Ruth reads from Where the Serpent Lives alongside other novelists connected with Cambridge’ chaired and introduced by Gillian Beer.

Monday May 23rd to Friday May 27th Radio 4, 15.45 pm – 16.00 pm BBC Radio 4 presents GILBERT’S GLORY, five programmes on W S Gilbert written and presented by Ruth Padel

25th May, “Darwins in Bloomsbury,” Darwin Theatre, University College, London, 5.00. Chaired by John Mullen, Ruth Padel, Poet in Residence at the Environment Institute and History Department UCL, reads from her internationally acclaimed verse biography of Charles Darwin, highlighting the years he spent in Upper Gower Street, commemorated in the Darwin Lecture Theatre. Catherine Hall, Professor of Modern British Social and Cultural History, and Rosemary Ashton, Quain Professor of English Language and Literature, will respond, setting Darwin’s life and marriage in the literary and social context of 1840s Bloomsbury.


1st June, Hay on Wye

  • HowTheLightGetsIn Festival of Philosophy and Music, Globe Hall, 2.00. Ruth discusses poetry and philosophy with Jonathan Ree
  • Books Festival, 5.00 pm Ruth Padel gives the annual Housman Lecture, On the Name and Nature of Poetry, sponsored by the Housman Society,

4th June Keats House, Hampstead NW3, 6.30. Ruth Padel joins poets Anne Marie Fyfe and James Byrne in a poetry reading for Keats House Literary Festival

Saturday 18th June, 3rd World Literature Weekend, London Review Bookshop. Ruth Padel introduces and chairs a reading by Dutch-Palestinian poet Ramsey Nasr.

Sunday 19th June Westminster Abbey. At an Evening Service for Nicholas Farrar, 6.30 pm, Ruth Padel reads from T S Eliot, Little Gidding

Thursday 30th June, House of Lords, in association with The Nehru Centre and Hindi Samiti. Award-winning poet Ruth Padel attends the presentation of the Vatayan Poetry Award to poet, lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar & Prasoon Joshi and a Life-Time Achievement Award to Javed Akhtar by Baroness Flather, Lord Desai and Dr Madhup Mohta; and reads her version of his poem Taarey Zameen Par, ‘Let us not Lose these Stars on Earth’


Sunday 10th July, ArtsMill Gallery, Linden Mill, Hebden Bridge, 7.30 pm, Ruth Padel gives a poetry reading with Ann Sansom in the Hebden Bridge Festival

28th July Ryedale Festival: 6.00 pm ‘Wild Thing’ – Poems, essays and conversation with Ruth Padel.Ruth Padel is well-known for her writing on the animals and natural world. She will present some of her talks on British wildlife (recently broadcast to great acclaim on BBC Radio 3) and extracts from her poetry collection Darwin, her novel Where the Serpent Lives, her book on tiger conservation, and her forthcoming poetry collection about migration.

31 July 16:30–17:00 BBC Radio 4 POETRY WORKSHOP Episode 1 Ruth Padel presents a landmark new series about how to enjoy writing and reading poetry, leading a workshop with ExCite Poets in Exeter.


Friday 26th August St Michael’s Church, Discoed, Powys 11,00 am. Ruth Padel reads from her forthcoming collection The Mara Crossing for the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts on the Herefordshire/Powys border

Monday 29 August b Ruth Padel reads from her forthcoming collection The Mara Crossing in the Poetry Tent


15 September, Queen Mary College, ‘Possible Worlds,’ 9.30 am Ruth Padel reads from her work and talks about Gillian Beer’s influence on her in a day held in honour of Dame Gillian Beer

Saturday 17th September, Shrewsbury School, 1.00 pm Ruth Padel opens the new Emma Darwin Wing for girls at Charles Darwin’s old school and gives a talk on Emma Darwin, her contribution to Charles’s life and her own independence of mind

20th-27th September, Loutro, Crete, Ruth Padel teaches a poetry course at Loutro, South Crete


17th-21st October, Radio 3, 22.45pm, “Wild Things” Repeat of Ruth Padel’s Essays exploring our reactions to 5 British wild animals: Deer, Fox, Robin, Butterfly and Badger

Friday 21st October, Burmese Embassy, London 11am -1.00pm Ruth joins other poets to read English versions of poems by imprisoned Burmese writers at a PEN Poetry Protest outside the Burmese Embassy, London: to call for the immediate unconditional release of the many Burmese writers currently detained in violation of their right to free expression

25th October, Faber Academy, London 7.00-9.00 pm Ruth is Guest Reader at a Poetry course taught by Jo Shapcott.

Saturday 29th October Royal College of Art, London: Battle of Ideas, a weekend of debates and controversies organised by the Institute of Ideas. Ruth Padel takes part in two debates:

  • 12.15-1.15pm What is Nature For?
  • 3.30-5.00 Creativity and curiosity: do we make stuff up or find it out?

30th October BBC Radio 4, 16:30–17:00pm POETRY WORKSHOP Episode 2. Ruth Padel presents a landmark series of programmes exploring the joys of writing poetry, leading a workshop with a group of poets in Edinburgh


1st November. University College London, 6.00 pm At the launch of UCL’s new Cultural Consultation Service (CCS), designed to ease relations between people from diverse cultural backgrounds, Ruth Padel reads a poem about migration from her forthcoming collection The Mara Crossing

3rd November, Royal Society of Medicine, London. At the opening of the 6th European Psychoanalytic Film Festival– “Border Crossing: Migration Across National and Mental States”, Ruth Padel reads the final poem, “Time to Fly,” from her forthcoming collection on migration, The Mara Crossing.

17th-18th November: Stamford Arts Centre, Stamford, Lincolnshire: “Voices for Nature”: Ruth Padel reads poems on bird migration at the annual seminar of New Networks for Nature: “An inspirational approach to nature and the environment”.

23rd November Senate House, London University, Ruth talks about “Imagery and imagination” to a day-long workshop of 2nd year A level students of English Literature working towards a paper called Poetry and Drama Pre 1800. She discusses the imagery of Donne and Milton, Chaucer and Pope, and asks why using an image can make a poem more vivid, convincing and complete.

24th November North London Collegiate School, Edwgare, Ruth Padel reads from her novel Where the Serpent Lives about field zoologists, and her forthcoming book of poems and prose on migration, animal, cellular and human, and talks about the relations of poetry and science to A level students of her old school. Are poetry and science so distant from each other? This is both a poetry reading and a discussion about poetry and biology in the widest sense, from a poet who is also Darwin’s descendent and biographer. How does a poet, or any artist, tackle what we are doing to the Earth, and take on board new ways of understanding how nature operates at every level, from conservation and ecology to genetics?


8th January, Crosswords Bookshop, Bangalore, India
Ruth Padel reads from Darwin: A life in poems, her book on tiger conservation Tigers in Red Weather, and her forthcoming novel Where the Serpent Lives at.

Wednesday 19th January Upper Wimpole Street Literary Salon, London 7.00 pm Ruth gives a talk on “Writing Nature: Fact, Poetry and Fiction”

Tuesday 26th January 11.10am Radio discussion of Where the Serpent Lives on Today with Pat Kenny, RTE Radio

28th January Radio 4, Woman’s Hour, discussion with Jenni Murray on Where the Serpent Lives


Wednesday 3rd February 6.30-8.00 pm British Library: Ruth reads from her first novel Where the Serpent Lives and discusses it with writer Eva Hoffman

28th February, Limerick, Ireland Ruth Padel is keynote speaker at the Kate O Brien Weekend


13th March A Cumbrian Canticle, commissioned to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Cumbria Rural Choirs, featuring four poems by Ruth Padel set to music by Ian Hare, is premiered at The Sands Centre, Carlisle. The piece includes Cumbrian folk tunes such as Keswick Bonny Lasses, a sea shanty and a negro spiritual, reflecting the maritime history of Whitehaven. Ruth Padel has several Cumbrian connections; her father John Padel grew up in Carlisle where his father was headmaster at Carlisle Grammar School and Ruth remembers regular holidays at a cottage below Orrest Head on Windermere.

24th March Athenaeum Club, London: Ruth gives a reading from her work at the Athenaeum Club.

30th March As Chair of the Judges of the National Poetry Prize, in its Centenary year, Ruth awards prizes at the Poetry Society’s celebrationsat the Saville Club, London

3rd March South Bank Music from the Genome Eva Hoffman chairs a talk between Ruth Padel, composer Michael Zev Gorden and scientist Andrew Morley, about creating a joint choral work on the genome.

5th March Ruth reads on Darwin, the Man and the Life, at Bromsgrove

9th March Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory, London Borough of Bromley Kent Ruth visits the Bromley reading group and talks to members about her book Darwin – A Life in Poems


12th April 9.30 am Museum of Curiosity, BBC Radio 4. Poet Ruth Padel is a guest on John Lloyd’s Museum of Curiosity under guest curator Dave Gorman. Each week we bring together three interesting people to “donate” an item to our imaginary, infinitely large and completely impossible museum.

24 April Down House, Kent Ruth Padel reads from her work on Darwin at Darwin’s house at Down, in Kent

Thursday 29th April, 6.00 pm, White Room, Queens Hall, Beaumont St, Hexham: Ruth Padel reads from Where the Serpent Lives and discusses poetry and prose with Neil Astley at Hexham Book Festival


1st May Debate, Norwich Cathedral POETRY AND PRAYER Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams andfellow poet Ruth Padel read their own poems, and those of other people, and share thoughts on the relation between poetry and prayer

7th May Eton College Ruth reads from her work and gives a talk on connections between science and literature to tutorial groups aged 15 – 18, then a reading for a Year 9; then Judges and awards the Gardiner Cup for the best Creative Writing folder of their Year.

Tues.11th May Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie Ruth does an all-day workshop with local primary schoolchildren on “Poems and Animals, poetry and nature” and gives an evening reading from her own poetry and prose: Darwin, Where the Serpent Lives and Tigers in Red Weather.

18th May St. Mary’s C of E Primary School, Garnet Road, Willesden, London, NW10, Ruth teaches a Latin class to Year 6 at for The Latin Programme, Ruth talks about the Roman poet Ovid, set him in a historical context, told them about political revolutions in Roman history, Roman invasions of Britain, where they could see the walls of Londinium – built, she pointed out, by immigrants, Roman soldiers from Africa and Spain. In an animated session she recounted the story of Phaethon from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These ten year-old pupils were familiar with a phrase describing Ovid, poeta Romae but Ruth offered them for the first time ways of reacting to the original Latin of a Roman poet. With her help, they translated for themselves the lines in which Phaethon loses control of the horses of the Sun and charges astray among the Scorpion, the Bull and Lion, familiar from horoscopes, but now looming larger as dangers of the heavens which a young man losing control of his horsepower has to negotiate at speed.

26th May, Ty Newydd Writers’ Centre, Gwynedd:Ruth is Guest Reader on a New Nature Writing course led by Mark Cocker

May 30th Westminster Abbey Evening Service, Trinity Sunday At a service for NICHOLAS FERRAR (1592–1637), conducted by The Reverend Graeme Napier, poet Ruth Padel reads LITTLE GIDDING PART V.


5th June Dublin Writers’ Festival “HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES” Ruth will read from her novel Where the Serpent Lives. She discusses the role of literature in living a life with Sarah Bakewell, and how the experience of writing a novel has changed her perspectives

Monday 14th June, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Ruth gives a poetry reading at the reception for the launch of On the Edge of the World, an exhibition on how past and contemporary artists respond to plants, organized by the The British Council, for artists who were recipients of their Darwin Now Awards

21st June Bristol Zoo, Ruth talks on wild animals at a conference on ‘Understanding Human Behaviour through Human/Animal Relations’: “Beyond Exceptionalism: The Animal in Human Explanation”

Tuesday 22 June, Mosimann’s,London, Ruth reads and talks about tigers at a Year of the Tiger fundraising dinner for the World Wide Find Tiger Programme


Thursday 1 July, Sussex University, 7th biennial IABA conference on ‘Life Writing and Intimate Publics’

  • 1.00 pm Ruth will give a reading and discuss life writing with Jo Gill
  • 2.30 pm Ruth Padel teaches a Creative Writing class of 40 graduate students

Saturday 3RD July 2.00 pm, Downe House, Kent: Ruth Padel reads from her book Darwin – A Life in Poems in a MEET THE AUTHOR session at Darwin’s house.

7th July British Library 7.00 pm Ruth reads new poems at the British Library for the Summer issue of Poetry Review

Friday 9th July 2010, 3.00 to 5.15pm at Diamond Light Source, Oxford. Introducing the world premiere of Michel Zev Gordon’s Allele, poet Ruth Padel talks with Michael Zev Gordon, and scientist Andrew Morley about the project of “Music from the GENOME”

10th July 1.45 pm Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham College Chapel, Hardy Lecture Theatre. Before the Cheltenham premiere of Allele in Cheltenham College Chapel, Ruth Padel talks with Michael Zev Gordon and scientist Andrew Morley about the making of Allele.

13th July Royal Society of Medicine. Before a performance of Allele, Ruth Padel talks with Michael Zev Gordon and scientist Andrew Morley about the making of Allele.

14th July 6.00 – 8.00 pm, Gulbenkian Foundation, 50 Hoxton Square, London N1I, Ruth takes part in a salon discussion on “The Nature of Time” led by Professor Chris Stringer Chris, anthropologist and the Natural History Museum’s human origins expert, and other participants in the Longplayer Live Dialogues, September 2009.

July 15th London Review Bookshop , 7.00 pm Writing Nature and Imagining the Wild”. Ruth talks about her writing on nature in poetry, travel and fiction and read from her poetry – especially Darwin – A Life in Poems, her conservation memoir Tigers in Red Weather, and her novel Where the Serpent Lives, featuring field zoologists in Indian jungle or the woodlands of Devon and evocative portraits of wild animals observing human beings.

Thursday, July 22, 6.30 p.m. Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Mumbai: “Writing the Forest”
Ruth Padel wrote her debut novel Where the Serpent Lives, set partly in forests of Karnataka and Bengal, around the king cobra. She explores what “forest” means, what it means to describe the forest in poetic and scientific terms, discussing the relation of literature and science, what each can give the other and what they have in common – above all accuracy and honesty, “saying what you see and no more.” She will read from both her novel and her celebrated account of tiger conservation, Tigers in Red Weather

Saturday July 24th, 6pm, Jnanapravaha Cultural Centre , Mumbai “What Goes On In the Forest” Poet Ruth Padel began and ended her celebrated account of tiger conservation Tigers in Red Weather in India. In her debut novel Where the Serpent Lives, she moves between Indian forest (Karnataka and Bengal) and London in the aftermath of the Iraq war, between tangled human drama and jungles under threat and India’s forests bring about change for all the characters. She will explore what it means to enter a forest, how myths from Shiva and Manasa to the Hamadryad (“Spirit of the Forest” or king cobra) illuminate a world where human beings watch animals and animals secretly watch human beings, and how we use metaphors from animals and the natural world to understand ourselves. She will read from her prose but also from her verse biography of Charles Dawrin, her great-great-grandfather, which stresses the role of imagination in his life and work.

Monday 26th July, Prithvi Theatre, North Bombay: THE TANGLED BANK: Ruth Padel talks on theatre, myth and Darwin. Drawing parallels between the forms of words on the page and those of natural history, stressing the interconnectedness of poetry and science, theatre and nature, Ruth Padel reads her highly-praised poems about Darwin; poems on wildlife and genetics, her novel Where the Serpent Lives, featuring the King Cobra in forests of Karnataka and Bengal, and from Tigers in Red Weather, her book on tiger conservation; and, fittingly for Prithvi Theatre, from her work on Greek Tragedy, arguing that from its western origins, the theatre has been the place that makes visible the unseen.

July 30th P E N, Free Word Centre, Faringdon Road 6.30pm Ruth speaks about Burma and Burmese poets at a Burmese Arts Festival Fundraising event for the Burmese Arts Festival in October organized by English PEN, artist Htein Lin and Index on Censorship.


Sunday, 15th August Edinburgh Festival

  • 5.00 pm at the ScottishPower Studio Theatre, Ruth Padel reads from and talks about her first novel Where the Serpent Lives
  • As Guest Curator for a series of events centred on “The Family” Ruth chairs discussions with a series of writers on their books:
  • Monday, 16th August 5.00 pm Ruth Padel chairs Lyndall Gordon in conversation on her biography of Emily Dickinson
  • Monday, 16th August ,7:00pm Ruth Padel chairs a discussion with Fay Weldon and Fatima Bhutto
  • Tuesday, 17th August, 2:00pm, Ruth chairs a discussion and readings with John Burnside & David Vann


Saturday 4th September, Holywell Music Room, Oxford. Ruth joins other poets connected with Wadham College, Bernard O’Donoghue, David Constantine, Bernard Bergonzi, Hilary Davies, Michael Schmidt and Grevel Lindop, in a poetry reading to celebrate Wadham Day, Wadham’s celebrations for its four hundred years foundation.

12th – 13th September, Examination Schools, Oxford, Tipping Point TippingPoint
is a network-based organisation connecting the arts and climate science. At its heart is an international programme of two-day gatherings where artists and scientists participate in an informal intense series of meetings to provoke collaborative creative work. The poet Ruth Padel has been a member of TippingPoint since 2008 and will participate in this year’s meeting and debates.

18th September Southfields Arts Festival, St Barnabas Church, Southfields “Writing Nature: Fact, Poetry and Fiction” The poet Ruth Padel is an acclaimed nature writer, well-known for her nature poetry and conservation writing. This year her debut novel Where the Serpent Lives features wildlife and field zoologists in Indian jungle, English gardens and Devon woodland.

Sunday 19th September 11.00 am Ruth Padel reads from her first novel Where the Serpent Lives at Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Ivy House, 94 – 96 North End Road, London, NW11

23rd September Grosvenor Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1, showcasing the best of Contemporary Art from India. At 6.00 pm Ruth Padel reads from her India-set novel Where the Serpent Lives

24th September, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire Ruth Padel joins other speakers to read poems in order to raise funds for the Cotswolds Maggie’s Cancer Centre

Wednesday 29th September Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1 For the International Year of Biodiversity, the Gulbenkian Foundation hosts a salon and public reading around the idea of language used by animals. As more is known about animal communication, questions about the unique nature of human language come to the fore.. What can each side learn from the other? Poet Ruth Padel, Orlando Gough, maths graduate, composer and leader of the vocal group The Shout, meet Klaus Zuberbuhler psychologist with a special interest in animal cognition, and Geoff Sample , ornithologist and birdsong expert, in a discussion chaired by Siân Ede, Arts Director of the Gulbenkian Foundation.

  • 3-5 pm Salon discussion
  • 6.30 pm Public reading


4th October, Courtauld Gallery, Aldwych, London. In Picture This: Writers’ Talks at the Courtauld,
Ruth talks about Pieter Bruegel’s Flight into Egypt, and reads her poem on the painting which will feature in her forthcoming poetry collection The Mara Crossing.

6th October, Somerset House, Forward Prize Judging: as Chair of the Judges for the Forward Prize, Ruth Padel presents the prizes and talks about the judging.

10th October Exeter Poetry Festival, Exeter Library The festival closes with a reading from Ruth Padel at 4pm, in conversation with Rachel McCarthy of ExCite Poetry

Thursday 14th October

  • Dulwich College, London 11-4 pm
    Ruth Padel will give a talk and teach classes at a day at Dulwich College focussing on the links between Science and Imagination.
  • Royal College of Surgeons 5.30 pm: The Vicary Lecture “Inside and Outside”Poet and former classicist Ruth Padel, author of In and Out of the Mind: Greek Images of the Tragic Self and Darwin – A Life in Poems, considers ways of wondering what is inside the body, the organ or the cell, from Hippocratic texts and her own forebears John Hunter and Charles Darwin, to modern genetics, and illustrate her talk with readings from her own poems

Friday 15 October Writers and Burma, Free Word Centre, Farringdon, EC1 1-2 pm. Ruth Padel joins Burmese and Western writers influenced by Burma, or who have written about Burma, for a panel discussion to celebrate the Burmese Arts Festival

Saturday 16th October, Ilkley Playhouse, Ilkeley, 4.00 pm

  • As Judge of the 2010 Ilkley Poetry Competition, Ruth Padel announces the results and hosts readings by the winners.
  • After the competition results, Ruth Padel will read with Jo Shapcott

Sunday 17th October – A Masterclass with Ruth Padel, Ilkely, 11am-1pm Manor House Education Room: A masterclass with this leading poet. Please bring 13 copies of up to three of your poems. All your poems can be on the same sheet.

Monday 18 Oct, Channing School, Highgate London N6 1.00 pm Ruth talks about Darwin, poetry and science with students of the Literary Society, then moves into the Lecture Theatre for a poetry reading and questions from pupils.

Thursday, October 21, Malvern College. During the Malvern Festival, Ruth Padel is Special Guest Speaker at Malvern Writers’ Circle Autumn Dinner and reads from her poems, especially those about Darwin’s daughter Annie, buried in Malvern churchyard.


2nd November GV Art, 49 Chiltern Street, London W1 7.30. Ruth Gives a talk at an “Art and the Mind” dinner: “Imagining Nature”,speaking of the last page of The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s vision of life-forms co-existing alongside each other, the tangled bank of poetry and prose, parallels between the forms of words on the page and those of natural history, stressing the interconnectedness of poetry and science, theatre and nature.

6th November

  • Magdalene College Cambridge: 10.00 Ruth opens the College’s Poetry Day with a poetry reading including her poem for Contourlines, the recent anthology on landscape published by the college.
  • 4.00 Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University: Ruth will end a day of discussions of literary critical, psychological and philosophical talks, in “Time, Consciousness and Memory: A One-Day Workshop,” with a poetry reading aand talk that inter-weaves poems on Darwin with readings on her work on mind and consciousness.

9th November, 6.00pm “Writing the Forest”: Ruth Padel gives a talk at the Reading and Reception Studies Seminar, School of Advanced Study, University of London. “In that electric moment when human meets king cobra eye to eye, each is liable to confuse the other’s motive. Keep still, he thought. Be very still…”

November 19th 3.00 pm “Where Prayer has been Valid…” To celebrate 500 years of the college chapel, Christ’s College Cambridge presents a poetry reading by Rowan Williams, Ruth Padel and Jo Shapcott

Monday 15th November, 5.30 – 7.00pm Archaeology LT, Gordon Square, UCL Environment Institute: Poetry Reading: “Endless Forms: Biodiversity in Poetry and Science”

Tuesday 23 Nov, Asia House, London “The Soul of Asia:, Talk and Reading with Ruth Padel” 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM . Reading, talking and showing tiger pictures, Ruth Padel introduces key issues in tiger conservation today and reveal her own passion for this beautiful, exclusively Asian and uniquely endangered animal, the ancient soul of Asia.

26th November, Jai Hund College, Bombay. At the College’s National Science Seminar, Guest of Honour Ruth Padel delivers the keynote address, featuring Charles Darwin and the impact of his theory of Evolution on our current thinking, with regard to Biodiversity, Ecology and preservation of our environment: “Endless Forms: Trophic Complexity or Trophic Cascade?” She then teaches classes in the College and answers pupils’ questions on Darwin, evolution and biodiversity.

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