Robert Minhinnick

Minhinnick, Robert

Robert Minhinnick (b. 1952), essayist and environmental campaigner, is one of the leading poets of his generation. The author of eight collections of poetry, he lives in Porthcawl, on the south coast of Wales.

He has received a John Morgan award for his prose, Gregory and Cholmondeley awards for his poetry, Wales Book of the Year award three times (in 1993, 2006 and 2018), and has won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem twice, for ‘Twenty Five Laments for Iraq’ and ‘The Fox in the National Museum of Wales’.

Robert Minhinnick has also made an important contribution to environmental campaigning in Wales and beyond, helping to co-found Sustainable Wales, and Friends of the Earth Cymru in 1984, and editing Green Agenda: Essays on the Environment of Wales (Seren, 1994). He has written several further volumes of his own essays, including Watching the Fire-Eater, which won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award in 1993, and Badlands (Seren, 1996).

As editor of Poetry Wales until 2008, he was influential in changing the shape of the contemporary poetry scene in Wales, and in forging an international context for Welsh poetry. He has also been central to opening a dialogue between Welsh-language and English-language Welsh poetry. An important contribution is The Adulterer's Tongue (Carcanet Press, 2003), where Minhinnick's translations bring six contemporary Welsh-language poets to the attention of readers of English. Both his first novel, Sea Holly, (Seren, 2007) was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. His recent publications include The Keys of Babylon (Seren, 2011) and New Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2012) and his novel, Nia (Seren, 2019), which was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize. 

In January 2019 he was one of the authours who took part in a two-city programme of literary debates, theatre, dance and film in Calicut and Mumbai, organised by Literature Across Frontiers and Wales Literature Exchange.