W.N. [Bill] Herbert is a highly versatile poet who writes both in English and Scots. Born in Dundee, he established his reputation with two English/Scots collections from Bloodaxe, Forked Tongue (1994) and Cabaret McGonagall (1996). These were followed by The Laurelude (1998), The Big Bumper Book of Troy (2002), Bad Shaman Blues (2006), Omnesia (2013) and The Wreck of the Fathership (2020). He has also published a critical study, To Circumjack MacDiarmid (OUP, 1992) drawn from his PhD research. His practical guide Writing Poetry was published by Routledge in 2010. He co-edited Strong Words: modern poets on modern poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2000) with Matthew Hollis, and Jade Ladder: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2012) with Yang Lian. Bill Herbert is Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University and lives in a lighthouse overlooking the River Tyne at North Shields. He was Dundee's inaugural Makar from 2013 to 2018.
Twice shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, his collections have also been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, McVities Prize, Saltire Awards and Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. Four are Poetry Book Society Recommendations. In 2014 he was awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for his poetry, and an honorary doctorate from Dundee University. In 2015 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Author photo: Isobel Taylor
Books by W.N. Herbert