Ruth Padel is a poet and a Greek scholar with lifelong connections to modern Greece, classical music and wildlife conservation, especially in India. She is Professor of Poetry at King’s College London and author of twelve books of poetry including Darwin: A Life in Poems, a bestselling verse biography of her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin.

She has published one novel and eight non-fiction works, including studies of Greek tragedy, of the influence of Greek myth on rock music, books on reading poetry drawn from her long-running newspaper column The Sunday Poem, and a first-hand account of wild tiger conservation in forests across Asia.

Her awards include First Prize in the National Poetry Competition, a British Council Darwin Now Fellowship and a Cholmondley Prize from the Society of Authors. She is a Trustee of New Networks for Nature, and a Fellow of both the Zoological Society of London and Royal Society of Literature.


Next collection, due January 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 shining through each poem. ‘ Steven Isserlis, cellist.

‘With precision, heart-breaking beauty and lyric insight, Ruth Padel performs a miracle: Beethoven comes alive before us, the son of a drunk, who became a genius, and lost everything, and found his way back. And here we are, following Padel’s own genius for composing the music of a story: generous, painful, tender, gorgeously lyrical.’ – Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic.


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