Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in Cornwall. She is of French/Welsh/Pakistani heritage. She has published six poetry collections. Her sixth, Fauverie (Seren, 2014), was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. A portfolio of poems from this book won the 2013 Manchester Poetry Prize. Bloodaxe Books will publish her seventh collection Mama Amazonica in September 2017. She is the recipient of a 2015 Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors and was the chair of the judges for the 2015 TS Eliot Prize. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Serbian and French.
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 TS Eliot Prize, Wales Book of the Year, and was Jackie Kay’s Book of the Year in the Observer. Two of her previous books, The Zoo Father and The Huntress, were also shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and were Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement and Independent. 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 and Quadrant. They have been translated into eighteen languages. She taught popular poetry courses in the galleries at Tate Modern for nine years, and currently tutors for the Arvon Foundation and Ty 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 is widely travelled in the Venezuelan Amazon, China, Kazakhstan, Nepal, and Mexico. 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 London Underground, in the Natural History Museum, London, Arnolfini Bristol, Ferenz Gallery Hull, and participated in the feminist touring exhibition Pandora’s Box in 1984–5.