Ruth Padel is an award-winning British poet, author, wildlife conservationist and musician. She has published twelve poetry collections, seven works of non-fiction and a wildlife novel. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Poetry at King’s College London. Her latest book is Beethoven Variations – Poems on a Life.
In July 2020, Ruth recorded poems on Beethoven’s life for Bangalore International Centre, illustrated by playing and conversation from musicians.
Beethoven Variations, Poems on a Life
‘Poetry, biography, music and memoir collide in this wonderful collection. A deeply personal and lyrical journey through the composer’s life and a tender and evocative portrait of the man and his music – and the profound ways it affects listeners and performers.’ – Tatler, Best Books 2020.
‘What a wonderful and unusual idea, to write a biography of Beethoven, interlaced with fragments of autobiography, in poetry. Ruth Padel writes with true passion; her love for, and understanding of, the man and his music shine through each poem.’ – Steven Isserlis, cellist
‘Generous, painful, tender, gorgeously lyrical. With precision, heart-breaking beauty and lyric insight, Ruth Padel performs a miracle: Beethoven comes alive before us.’ – Poet Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
An adventure in poetry and biography – a journey into creativity and its power to overcome suffering
Tracking Beethoven’s footsteps, through Germany, Austria and Silesia, Ruth tells his inner story through poems that draw on his diaries, letters and music. She threads her story with fragments of her own music-making, in song and on the viola, Beethoven’s instrument as a child. After the poems, she gives a brief prose biography and list of his major works so you can see where music you love fits into his life.
Ruth will read from the updated paperback version of her book on migration, We Are All from Somewhere Else, at St Luke’s Church, Queens Park, for refugee charity Salusbury World
A reading in Holywell Music Room, at Oxford Chamber Music Festival
Readings at a music weekend, structured round Beethoven Variations, at the Music Camp where Ruth’s parents met
A reading at Hostry Festival, Norfolk
A reading at Aspect Foundation New York with Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas