Don Paterson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don Paterson

at 2013 Bridlington Poetry Festival
at 2013 Bridlington Poetry Festival
BornDonald Paterson
1963 (age 60–61)
Dundee, Scotland
Notable worksNil Nil (1993); God's Gift to Women (1997); Landing Light (2003)
Notable awardsEric Gregory Award;
Forward Poetry Prize;
T. S. Eliot Prize;
Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize

Donald Paterson OBE FRSE FRSL (born 1963 in Dundee)[1] is a Scottish poet, writer and musician. His work has won several awards, including the Forward Poetry Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He was recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2009.


Paterson won an Eric Gregory Award in 1990 and his poem "A Private Bottling" won the Arvon Foundation International Poetry Competition in 1993.[2] He was included on the list of 20 poets chosen for the Poetry Society's 1994 "New Generation Poets" promotion.[2] In 2002, he was awarded a Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Award.[1]

His first collection of poetry, Nil Nil (1993), won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. God's Gift to Women (1997) won the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. The Eyes, adaptations of the work of Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875–1939), was published in 1999. He is the editor of 101 Sonnets: From Shakespeare to Heaney (1999) and of Last Words: New Poetry for the New Century (1999) with Jo Shapcott. Paterson's collection of poems Landing Light (2003) won both the 2003 T. S. Eliot Prize and the 2003 Whitbread Poetry Award.[3] He has also published three collections of aphorisms, The Book of Shadows (2004), The Blind Eye (2007) and Best Thought, Worst Thought (2008). Orpheus, his version of Rilke's Die Sonette an Orpheus, was published in 2006.[1]

Paterson teaches in the school of English at the University of St Andrews and was the poetry editor for London publishers Picador for more than 25 years.[3] An accomplished jazz guitarist, he works solo and for ten years ran the jazz-folk ensemble Lammas with Tim Garland.[4][5]

In 2012, Paterson wrote an open letter in The Herald criticising Scotland's arts funding council Creative Scotland.[6]

In 2012–2013, he was the Weidenfeld Visiting professor of European Comparative Literature in St Anne's College, Oxford.[7]

Paterson's memoir Toy Fights: A Boyhood was published by Faber in January 2023.

Honours and awards[edit]

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[8] He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2009.[9][10] In 2015, Paterson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[11]



  • Nil Nil. London: Faber and Faber. 1993. (winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection)
  • God's Gift to Women. London: Faber and Faber. 1997.
  • The Eyes, after Machado, Faber and Faber, 1999, ISBN 9780571200559
  • White Lie, Graywolf Press, 2001, ISBN 9781555973537
  • Landing Light, 2003
  • Orpheus after Rilke, 2006
  • Rain. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2009. ISBN 9781466880689. (winner of Forward Poetry Prize)
  • Selected Poems, Faber and Faber, 2012, ISBN 9780571281787
  • 40 Sonnets, Faber and Faber, 2015, ISBN 9780571310890 (shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize)
  • Contributor to A New Divan: A Lyrical Dialogue Between East and West, Gingko Library, 2019, ISBN 9781909942288
  • Zonal, Faber and Faber, 2020, ISBN 9780571338245
  • The Arctic, Faber and Faber, 2022, ISBN 9780571338184
List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
"Wave" 2014 The New Yorker[12]


Radio drama[edit]


  • The Book of Shadows Picador, 2004, ISBN 9780330431842
  • The Blind Eye (2007)
  • Best Thought, Worst Thought (2008)


Critical studies and reviews of Paterson's work[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Foundation, Poetry (29 July 2020). "Don Paterson". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Don Paterson | Poet". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Picador". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Don Paterson". Poetry Archive. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  5. ^ Miller, Phil (15 February 2016). "Acclaimed poet reveals he is writing play about Jimmy Savile". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  6. ^ Paterson, Don (14 September 2012). "A post-Creative Scotland". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  7. ^ "St Anne's College, Oxford > About the College > Weidenfeld Visiting Professorship in Comparative European Literature". Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  8. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 12.
  9. ^ "The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2009". 1 December 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  10. ^ "Don Paterson awarded Queen's Medal for Poetry". BBC News. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  11. ^ "Professor Don Paterson OBE FRSE". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Wave". The New Yorker. Vol. 90, no. 2. 3 March 2014. p. 65.

External links[edit]