Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel

Professor, Professor

Personal profile

Biographical details

Poet and author. Born in an attic in Wimpole Street in 1946, I studied classics at Lady Margaret Hall Oxford  wrote a PhD on ideas of the mind in Greek tragedy and its society, taught Greek at Oxford and Birkbeck, College, while starting an M Phil on modern Cretan poetry at King's College London which I never finished, and went back to live in Crete instead, where i have lived on and off since 1970 and maintain close ties. In 1984 I left academic life and lived as a freelance writer - though I taught opera in the Modern Greek Department at Princeton for two semesters in 1995  - until I joined King's College in 2013. 

Research interests (short)

I write poetry, fiction and non-fiction, so my research intyerests are whatever book I am working on at the time. For example, I have just finished a collection of poems entitled 'Emerald' in which I researched emerald mining, the geology and crystal structure of emeralds, and the role of the Emerald Tablet in mediaeval alchemy and Jungian analysis, but all these came together in a volume about my miother's recent death. I am now turning back to an unfinished novel about Crete, with which I have had a lifelong relationship since 1970, in the second world war. My next book of poems will be about the life and work of Beethoven and Schubert.  Ihave published around 20 books to date, ten poetry collections, one novel and nine nonfiction. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Classics (Greek Traged), Doctor of Philosophy, In & Out of the Mind: Images of the Greek andTragic Self, University of Oxford

Award Date: 16 Jun 1976

External positions

Trustee of New Networks fo Nature (conservation charity)

2015 → …

resident Writer at Environment Institute UCL


Resident Poet Christ's College Cambridge


Resident Writer at Somerset House


Chair of Poetry Society of Great Britain


Fellow of Royal Society of Literature

1998 → …

Fellow (sometimes Trustee) of Zoological Society of London

1985 → …


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