James Fenton

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Photograph: Gerrit Serné

Books

Assistant: Seren Adams

Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: Rose Cobbe
Assistant: Abigail Darling

Books

James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949. He was educated at the Durham Choristers' School, Repton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. He has worked as a political and literary journalist on the New Statesman; was a freelance reporter in Indo-China; spent a year in Germany working for the Guardian; was theatre critic for the Sunday Times for five years; chief book reviewer for The Times from 1984 to 1986; South East Asian correspondent for the Independent from 1986 to 1988 and a columnist for them until 1995.  He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.  James Fenton was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1994 to 1999.  He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983 and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2007. In 2015 he won the PEN Pinter prize.

He is currently writing a collection of unusual biographies called PRIVATE LIVES, and a book about pirates for Notting Hill Press. His Collected Poems YELLOW TULIPS were published by Faber & Faber in June 2012.

Praise for YELLOW TULIPS:

'The 17 recent poems that make up the last section of Yellow Tulips show the development of a compelling poetic voice. Most important, they suggest that there is more to come' Economist

'There's something about the formal tidiness of Fenton's poetry, the dovetailingly precise lines, which, when set beside the violence and moral ambiguities they describe, is satisfyingly unsettling... Aside from the technical virtuosity of his verse and his bravura in the face of daunting subject matter, it's Fenton's ability to meld public and private voices, along with a constant capacity for totally unexpected phrasemaking that most justifies the comparison [to Auden]... he trusts poetry to do the job without plating itself in irony or retreating into mandarinism' Guardian

'If you have little love for recent poetry, wake up and small James Fenton's Yellow Tulips. This fine collection offers mystery and delight, virtuosity, accessibility - and sheer mischief' Independent

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2008

Penguin

Essays on art and artists

2006

Royal Academy

A history of the Royal Academy of Arts

2003

Penguin

Three libretti including Haroun and The Sea of Stories & The Fall of Jerusalem

2001

Viking

A collection of articles

Poetry

Publication DetailsNotes
2008

PENGUIN

James Fenton`s personal selection of D.H. Lawrence poems

2012

Faber & Faber

A gathering from four decades of poems by James Fenton

2008

Faber & Faber

Selected and introduced by James Fenton

2006

Penguin

This is the first full selection of James Fenton`s poems to be published, and represents the whole range of his work from light verse to political and love poems to opera libretti.

2002

PENGUIN

"English poetry begins whenever we decide to say the modern English language begins, and it extends as far as we decide to say that the English language extends."

2001

Oxford University Press

The Oxford lectures on poetry 1994-1999

1993

Penguin

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Poetry

Film, TV & Theatre

 

James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949.  He was educated at the Durham Choristers' School, Repton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry. He has worked as a political and literary journalist on the New Statesman; was a freelance reporter in Indo-China; spent a year in Germany working for The Guardian; was theatre critic for The Sunday Times for five years; chief book reviewer for The Times from 1984 to 1986; South East Asian correspondent for The Independent from 1986 to 1988 and a columnist for them until 1995.  He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.  James Fenton was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1994 to 1999.  He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1983 and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2007.

 

Theatre

ProductionCompanyNotes
2016

Swan Theatre RSC

a new adaptation of Miguel De Cervantes' novel. Dir: Angus Jackson, with David Threlfall and Rufus Hound.

2014

American Conservatory Theater

Dir. Carey Perloff

2014

La Jolla Playhouse

Dir: Carey Perloff

2012

Royal Shakespeare Company

Adaptation of Chinese play. Dir. Gregory Doran.

PICTURES FROM AN EXHIBITION

2009

Young Vic

Dir. Daniel Kramer

TSUNAMI SONG CYCLE

2009

BBC

Composer: Dominic Muldowney

TAMAR'S REVENGE

2004

Royal Shakespeare Company

Translation of Tirso de Molina's Spanish Golden Age play. Dir. Simon Usher

Opera

ProductionCompanyNotes

RIGOLETTO

2006

English National Opera

Revival

HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES

2004

New York City Opera

Composer Charles Wuorinen; Dir. Mark Lamos

RIGOLETTO

1992

English National Opera

Dir. Jonathan Miller