Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in Cornwall. She is of French/Welsh/Indian heritage. Her eighth collection, Tiger Girl (2020), won an RSL Literature Matters Award while in progress, and a poem from the book won the 2020 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize. Tiger Girl was shortlisted for the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Collection and for the English language poetry category shortlist for Wales Book of the Year 2021. Her seventh collection Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books, 2017), a Poetry Book Society Choice, won the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018 and the Laurel Prize 2020, and was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018. Her ninth collection, Beast, is due from Bloodaxe in 2025. She has published six previous poetry collections, four of which were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, most recently, her sixth collection, Fauverie (Seren, 2014). A portfolio of poems from that book won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. In 2018 she was appointed as Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2015, and was the chair of the judges for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize. Her novel Hummingbird Father is published by Salt in 2024. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Serbian and French. She is widely travelled in the Peruvian and Venezuelan Amazon, China, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mexico and India.
Her fifth collection, What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, published by Seren in 2010 (UK) and Black Lawrence Press in 2011 (US), was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year. Two of her previous books, The Zoo Father and The Huntress, were also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2004 the Poetry Book Society selected Petit as one of the Next Generation Poets.
Petit has received six major awards from Arts Council England. The Zoo Father was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. A poem from the book, ‘The Strait-Jackets’, was shortlisted for a Forward Prize. A Spanish/English edition is published in Mexico and Spain, an illustrated Serbian edition in Belgrade, and her selected poems Fauverie are published in a bilingual edition in China.
She was Poetry Editor of Poetry London from 1989 to 2005 and is a co-founding tutor of The Poetry School. She has co-edited Tying the Song (Enitharmon, 2000) the first anthology from The Poetry School. Her poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, The Poetry Archive and ABC Radio National, and published widely in journals around the world, including in Poetry, Poetry Review, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and Quadrant. They have been translated into 18 languages. She taught popular poetry courses in the galleries at Tate Modern for nine years, and currently tutors for the Arvon Foundation and Tŷ Newydd. She was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art 2011-12.
Petit has translated poems by Yang Lian, Zhai Yongming, Wang Xiaoni, Xiao Kaiyu, Xi Chuan, Zhou Zan and Amir Or. She has given readings nationally and internationally, including at Tampico International Literature Festival in Mexico, Yellow Mountain Festival in China, Sha’ar Poetry Festival in Israel, Estonia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kathmandu, Belgrade and America, and at numerous UK venues including Tate Modern, Royal Festival Hall, the British Museum, Ways With Words, Aldeburgh, Ledbury, Cheltenham, StAnza and Hay Festivals. She spent the first part of her life as a sculptor and trained at the Royal College of Art. As an artist she held numerous exhibitions, including on the London Underground, in the Natural History Museum, London, Arnolfini Bristol, Ferenz Gallery Hull, and participated in the feminist touring exhibition Pandora’s Box in 1984–85.
Pascale Petit's website is www.pascalepetit.co.uk
Author photograph: Brian Fraser
Books by Pascale Petit