David HarsentFestival Poet

David Harsent  is a poet and librettist. He has published eleven volumes of poetry, most recently Salt (Faber, 2017). Legion won the Forward Prize for best collection 2005; Night (2011) was triple short-listed in the UK and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Fire Songs, won the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize.

David has collaborated with a number of composers, though most often with Harrison Birtwistle. Birtwistle/Harsent collaborations have been performed at venues worldwide, including the Royal Opera House, BBC Proms, the Aldeburgh Festival, The Concertgebouw, The London South Bank Centre, the Wigmore Hall, The Salzburg Festival, the Holland Festival, the Megaron (Athens) and Carnegie Hall.

An oratorio – The Judas Passion (music by Sally Beamish) had its world premiere in London in August 2017. Subsequent performances took place in San Francisco.

David holds several fellowships, among them Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Fellow of the Hellenic Authors Society. In 2013 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Roehampton where he is now Professor of Creative Writing.


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