Simon Armitage. Courtesy

Simon Armitage
Born May 26 1963 (1963-05-26) (age 57)
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England
Occupation Poet / Playwright / Novelist
Nationality United Kingdom English

Simon Armitage CBE (born 26 May 1963) is an English poet, playwright, and novelist.


Armitage was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire.

He studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite, Huddersfield and went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic. He was a post-graduate student at Manchester University, where his M.A. thesis concerned the effects of television violence on young offenders.

Until 1994 he worked as Probation Officer in Greater Manchester. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters in 1996 from the University of Portsmouth. He then lectured on creative writing at the University of Leeds, the University of Iowa and Manchester Metropolitan University. In February 2011 he took up the position as professor of poetry at the University of Sheffield.[1][2]

He lives in West Yorkshire.[3] He is a vice president of the Poetry Society and a patron of the Arvon Foundation.


Simon Armitage Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage Poet Laureate

Armitage's poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998), a collection of essays on the north of England. He produced a dramatised version of Homer's Odyssey and a collection of poetry entitled Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid (which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize), both of which were published in July 2006. Many of Armitage's poems appear in the AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) GCSE syllabus for English Literature in the United Kingdom. Some of these include: "Homecoming", "November", "Kid", "Hitcher", and a selection of poems from Book of Matches, most notably of these "Mother any distance...". His writing is characterised by a dry, native Yorkshire wit combined with "an accessible, realist style and critical seriousness." [2]

Armitage also writes for radio, television, film and stage. He is the author of 4 stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of Euripides' The Madness of Heracles. He was commissioned in 2004 by the National Theatre in London to write Eclipse for the Connections series, a play based on the disappearance of a girl in Hebden Bridge at the time of the 1999 solar eclipse in Cornwall.[4]

Recently he wrote the libretto for an opera scored by Scottish composer Stuart MacRae, The Assassin Tree, based on a Greek myth recounted in The Golden Bough. The opera premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland, before moving to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Saturday Night (Century Films, BBC2, 1996) – wrote and narrated a fifty minute poetic commentary to a documentary about night-life in Leeds. Directed by Brian Hill. In 2010, Armitage walked the 264 mile Pennine Way, walking South from Scotland to Derbyshire. Along the route he stopped to give poetry readings, often in exchange for donations of money, food or accommodation and is writing a book about his journey.[1]


He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including theSunday Times Author of the Year, a Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings. Kid and CloudCuckooLand were short-listed for the Whitbread poetry prize. The Dead Sea Poems was short-listed for the Whitbread, the Forward Poetry Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize. The Universal Home Doctor was also short-listed for the T.S. Eliot. In 2000, he was the UK's official Millennium Poet and went on to judge the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize, the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2010 Manchester Poetry Prize.

In 2004, Armitage was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[5]

On 10 May 2019 Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom.[6]


  • 1988 - Eric Gregory Award
  • 1989 - Zoom! made a Poetry Book Society Choice
  • 1992 - A Forward Poetry Prize for Kid
  • 1993 - Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year
  • 1994 - Lannan Award
  • 1998 - Yorkshire Post Book of the Year for All Points North
  • 2003 - BAFTA winner
  • 2003 - Ivor Novello Award for song-writing
  • 2004 - Fellow of Royal Society for Literature
  • 2005 - Spoken Word Award (Gold) for The Odyssey
  • 2006 - Royal Television Society Documentary Award Winner for Out of the Blue
  • 2008 - The Not Dead (C4, Century Films) Mental Health in the Media Documentary Film Winner
  • 2010 - Seeing Stars made a Poetry Book Society Choice
  • 2010 - Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry
  • 2010 - Awarded the CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for services to poetry
  • 2012 - The Death of King Arthur made Poetry Book Society Choice
  • 2012 - Hay Medal for Poetry

Except where noted, award information courtesy Simon Armitage.[7]

Publications Edit


  • Zoom!. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe, 1989.
  • Xanadu. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe, 1992.
  • Kid. London & Boston: Faber, 1992.
  • Book of Matches. London & Boston: Faber, 1993.
  • Penguin Modern Poets 5 (by Simon Armitage, Sean O'Brien, & Tony Harrison). London & New York: Penguin, 1995.
  • The Dead Sea Poems. London & Boston: Faber, 1995.
  • CloudCuckooLand. London & Boston: Faber, 1997.
  • Killing Time. London: Faber, 1999.
  • New Chatto Poets. Vintage 1999.x
  • Selected Poems. London: Faber, 2001.
  • Travelling Songs. London: Faber, 2002.
  • The Universal Home Doctor. London & Boston: Faber, 2002.
  • The Shout: Selected poems. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2005.
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid.. London: Faber, 2006; Toronto: Anansi, 2007; New York: Knopf, 2008.
  • Twilight Readings. West Bretton, UK: Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2008.
  • Out of the Blue. London: Enitharmon, 2008.
  • The Not Dead. Hebden Bridge, UK: Pomona Books, 2008.
  • Seeing Stars: Poems. London: Faber, 2010; New York: Knopf, 2011.
  • Black Roses: The killing of Sophie Lancaster. Hebden Bridge, UK: Pomona, 2012.
  • Stanza Stones (with Pip Hall & Tom Lonsdale). London: Enitharmon, 2013.


  • Jerusalem. London: Faber, 2005.


  • Little Green Man. London: Viking, 2001.
  • The White Stuff. London: Viking, 2004.


  • All Points North. London & New York: Viking, 1998.
  • King Arthur in the East Riding. London: Penguin, 2005.
  • Moon Country: Further reports from Iceland (with Glyn Maxwell). London & Boston: Faber, 1996.
  • Gig: The life and times of a rock-star fantasist. London: Viking, 2008; London: Penguin, 2009.
  • Walking Home: Travels with a troubadour on the Pennine Way. London: Faber, 2012.


  • Eclipse (with Friendly Fire by Peter Gill). London: Faber, 2001.


  • Mister Heracles: After Euripides. London: Faber, 2000.
  • Homer's Odyssey. London: Faber, 2006.
    • published in U.S. as The Odyssey: A dramatic retelling of Homer's epic. New York: Norton, 2008.
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A new verse translation. London: Faber, 2007; New York: Norton, 2007.
  • The Death of King Arthur: A new verse translation. London: Faber, 2012; New York: Norton, 2012.


  • The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 (edited with Robert Crawford). London & New York: Penguin, 1998.
  • Ted Hughes, Poems Selected. London: Faber (Poet to Poet), 2000.
    • also published as The Faber Hughes. London: Faber, 2004.
  • Short and Sweet: 101 very short poems. London: Faber, 2002.
  • The Poetry of Birds (edited with Tim Dee). London & New York: Viking, 2009.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[8]

Audio / video Edit

National Poetry Day 2010 Simon Armitage Reads Kid

National Poetry Day 2010 Simon Armitage Reads Kid

Thank You for Waiting by Simon Armitage

Thank You for Waiting by Simon Armitage

You're Beautiful (Poem) by Simon Armitage

You're Beautiful (Poem) by Simon Armitage

  • Simon Armitage: Reading from his poems. London: Poetry Archive, 2005.[8]

Selected radio scripts Edit

  • Second Draft from Saga Land – Six programmes for BBC Radio 3 on W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice.
  • Eyes of a Demigod – On Victor Grayson commissioned by BBC Radio 3.
  • The Amherst Myth – on Emily Dickinson for BBC Radio 4.
  • Points of Reference – on the history of navigation and orientation for BBC Radio 4.
  • From Salford to Jericho – A verse drama for BBC Radio 4.
  • To Bahia and Beyond – Five travelogue features in verse with Glyn Maxwell from Brazil and the Amazon for BBC Radio 3.
  • The Bayeux Tapestry – A six part dramatisation, with Geoff Young, for BBC Radio 3.
  • A Tree Full of Monkeys (2002) – commissioned by BBC Radio 3, with :zoviet*france:.
  • The Odyssey (2004) – A three-part dramatisation for BBC Radio 4.
  • Writing the City (2005) – commissioned by BBC Radio 3.
  • Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster (2011), consisting of poems telling the story of Sophie Lancaster's life, together with the personal recollections of her mother.

See alsoEdit

Preceded by
Geoffrey Hill
Oxford Professor of Poetry
2015 - 2019
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom
2019 -
Succeeded by

References Edit

Professor Simon Armitage performs his poem Zoom

Professor Simon Armitage performs his poem Zoom


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pennine Way activities on Armitage's website
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ogden, Rachael (June 2001). "Preview: Simon Armitage". The North Guide (UK: North Guide): 27. ISSN 1470-4153. 
  3. "All Points North", Simon Armitage
  4. "Shell Connections at the National". Peter Lathan. 2004. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  5. Template:London Gazette
  6. "Simon Armitage: 'Witty and profound' writer to be next Poet Laureate". BBC News. 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019. 
  7. Biography, Simon Armitage, Web, Apr. 20, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Search results = au:Simon Armitage, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 20, 2014.

External links Edit

Audio / video
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