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DATE: 26th January 2019

TIME: 2.00-8.00 pm

VENUE: Swedenborg Hall, Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

SPEAKER/S: Homero Aridjis | Ruth Fainlight | Sarah Howe | Helder Macedo | Adam O'Riordan | Robin Robertson | Declan Ryan | Hannah Sullivan | Per Wästberg | Hugo Williams

Swedenborg Birthday Meeting 2019: poetry readings & book launch

On the occasion of the Swedenborg Birthday Meeting, Swedenborg House will host a broad range of international poets reading from their work to coincide with the launch of the latest book in the Swedenborg Archive Series, In Celebration of Tomas Tranströmer. The day will feature readings from:


Also present on the day will be the Swedish Ambassador Torbjörn Sohlström.

press release

poet bios

HOMERO ARIDJIS is the author of over 40 works, including poetry, novels, plays and several books for children. He has twice been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and has twice served as President of PEN International, and is a former Mexican ambassador to UNESCO. In 1985 he founded the Group of 100, an environmental association of prominent artists and intellectuals, that has included Leonora Carrington, Juan Rulfo and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Since then he has become one of Latin America’s leading environmental activists. Image: Alex Waterhouse

RUTH FAINLIGHT is an award-winning poet and translator, whose collections, starting with Cages in 1966, have spanned five decades. Her 1976 collection Another Full Moon was described by Peter Porter as having ‘the steadiness and clarity of the moon itself’, and A S Byatt has said of her poems that they ‘give us truly new visions of usual and mysterious events’. Fainlight has lived in England since the age of 15, achieving success in fiction, translation and opera libretti as well as poetry. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2008. Image: Emily Andersen

SARAH HOWE is a Hong Kong-born British poet, academic and editor. Her first collection of poems is Loop of Jade  (Chatto & Windus, 2015). Image: Hayley Madden


HELDER MACEDO is a renowned poet, essayist and novelist. He was born on 30 November 1935 in South Africa and spent his childhood in Mozambique before moving to Lisbon aged 12 and eventually studying at the School of Law there. He began writing poetry and novels during this period, but following censorship of his work by the Salazar regime, ceased to write until later in life. A committed anti-fascist Macedo was arrested and imprisoned by the state police leading to his exile in London in 1960.

ADAM O’RIORDAN was born in Manchester in 1982 and read English at Oxford University. In 2008 O’Riordan became the youngest Poet-in-Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, the Centre for British Romanticism. His first collection In the Flesh (Chatto and Windus) won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011. He is Academic Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

ROBIN ROBERTSON, was brought up on the northeast coast of Scotland where, as he says in a 2008 interview, ‘history, legend and myth merged cohesively in the landscape’. Robertson’s early influences include the stories of Celtic and Classical myth, the vernacular ballads, and folklore. Robertson is the author of several collections of poetry. His debut collection, A Painted Field (1997), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize, and the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award, and was one of the Sunday Times Books of the Year. Image: Niall McDiarmid

DECLAN RYAN was born in County Mayo, Ireland. His debut pamphlet was published in the Faber New Poets series in 2014. He is poetry editor at Ambit and teaches at King’s College London.

HANNAH SULLIVAN lives in London with her husband and two sons and is an Associate Professor of English at New College, Oxford. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2008 and taught in California for four years. Her study of modernist writing, The Work of Revision, was published in 2013 and awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize by the British Academy.

PER WÄSTBERG is Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Literature. He founded the Swedish Section of Amnesty International in 1963 and was deeply involved in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. From 1976 to 1982 he was the editor of Sweden’s largest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. He was president of International PEN from 1979 to 1986. He is the author of fifty publications, including novels, poetry, essays and works on African politics and literature.

HUGO WILLIAMS is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including West End Final (2009), Collected Poems (2002), Billy’s Rain (1999), which won the T.S. Eliot Prize, Selected Poems (1989), and his Eric Gregory Award–winning debut, Symptoms of Loss (1965). A selection of his freelance writing appears in the essay collection Freelancing: Adventures of a Poet(1995). His additional honors include the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the Cholmondeley Award. Image: Olga Lipska