Pascale Petit Readings

Pascale Petit Readings

‘Pascale Petit manages to do the impossible, weaving together a story of trauma, illness, and tragedy and steeping it in the natural world,  transforming her troubled relationship with her mother into a story of the Amazon rainforest. It is a feat both stylistic and imaginative, and the result is something utterly original.’  – Tahmima Anam, on behalf of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018 Judges

Pascale Petit’s seventh poetry collection Mama Amazonica, awarded Poetry Book Society Choice for Autumn 2017 and shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2018, has won the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018 - the first time in the prize's 15-year history that a poetry title has won. 

Pascale launched the book in September 2017 with readings at King’s Lynn Poetry Festival, North Cornwall Book Festival, The Cheltenham Literature Festival and at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend, with further appearances at festivals in 2018, including Birmingham's Verve Festival in February and the Cuirt Festival in April, Ledbury Poetry Festival in July and Winchester Poetry Festival in October.  She'll be appearing at Birmingham Literature Festival and Poetry in Aldeburgh in October and November 2018.

Mama Amazonica is set in a psychiatric ward and in the Amazonian rainforest, an asylum for animals on the brink of extinction. The book tells the story of Pascale Petit’s mentally ill mother and the consequences of abuse, as well as celebrating the beauty of the wild, whether in the mind or the natural world. As the PBS selectors note: ‘…her greatest, most singular achievement has been to tackle difficult subject matter head-on, while simultaneously distancing herself from it through the use of exotic metaphor.’  Pascale has commented that it is a book that took her ‘63 years to write’.

Pascale will be a guest on Radio 3's The Verb of Friday 19 October, 10pm. She'll be discussing the forest as metaphor with host Ian McMillan and writer Terry Deary. Listen live, or after broadcast here.  For more interviews with Pascale, click here.


University of Leeds Poetry Centre 6.30-8pm Thursday 28 February 2019

Pascale Petit reading in the Alumni Room, School of English, University of Leeds Poetry Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT
Admission free, all welcome

Click here for more information.

Cork International Poetry Festival Thursday evening, 21 March 2019

Pascale Petit reads in the evening, and leads a workshop in the morning.

The Cork Arts Theatre, Camden Court, Carroll’s Quay, Cork City, Ireland

More information will be posted in due course here.


Celebration of 15 Years of RSL Ondaatje Prize, British Library, London, 7pm-8.30pm, Tuesday 16 April 2019

A Royal Society of Literature panel discussion on writing about the spirit of place, with four winners of the Ondaatje Prize: Alan Johnson, Pascale Peti, Peter Pomerantsev, & one other tbc.
Chair: Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough

This event will be recorded for BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking


Click here to read Pascale's blog and see photos of her trips to the Amazon.

An interview with Pascale Petit is in the March 2018 issue The Compass Magazine, illustrated with her own photographs. Click here to read.

[06 November 2018]

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