David Harsent - biography

David Harsent has published nine full collections of poetry and several limited editions, and has received a number of literary awards, including the Eric Gregory Award, the Geoffrey Faber Award, the Cheltenham Festival Prize, two Arts Council Bursaries and a Society of Authors Travel Fellowship. His earlier collection, Legion, won the Forward Prize for best collection 2005 and was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His Selected Poems was published in June 2007, and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize.

His most recent collection, Night, was Poetry Book Society Choice for Spring 2011, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize and the Costa Prize, and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize.

Sprinting from the Graveyard, his English versions of poems written under siege in Sarajevo by the Bosnian poet Goran Simic, have been widely praised, and were incorporated by Nigel Osborne into his opera Sarajevo as well as forming the basis for radio and TV programmes. In Secret, his English versions of poems by Yannis Ritsos, will appear from Enitharmon Press in October 2012.

Harsent has collaborated with composers (most often with Harrison Birtwistle) on commissions from the Royal Opera House, the Proms, The Nash Ensemble, the Prussia Cove Festival, VARA (Holland), the Aldeburgh Festival, the Aix-en-Provence Festival, BBC Radio and Channel 4 TV. Pieces have been performed at ROH, the Royal Albert Hall (Proms), the Concertgebouw, The Megaron (Athens), the South Bank Centre and Carnegie Hall. Gawian and The Woman and the Hare have been issued as CDs, and The Minotaur as a DVD. Several pieces have been performed on radio and television.

David Harsent is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.