Caroline Bird was born in 1986 and grew up in Leeds before moving to London in 2001. She studied English Literature at Oxford University.
Caroline had been shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize twice in 2008 and 2010 and was the youngest writer on the list both times. She was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2014. She has also won an Eric Gregory Award (2002) and the Foyle Young Poet of the Year award two years running (1999, 2000), and was a winner of the Poetry London Competition in 2007, the Peterloo Poetry Competition in 2004, 2003 and 2002. Caroline was on the shortlist for Shell Woman Of The Future Awards 2011.
Caroline has had four collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes (published in 2002 when she was only 15) is a topical, zesty and formally delightful collection of poems built on the traditions of fairy tale, fantasy and romance. Her second collection, Trouble Came to the Turnip, was published in September 2006 to critical acclaim. Watering Can, her third collection published in November 2009 celebrates life as an early twenty-something with comedy, wordplay and bright self-deprecation. Her fourth collection, The Hat-Stand Union, was described by Simon Armitage as ‘spring-loaded, funny, sad and deadly.’
Bird’s poems have been published in several anthologies and journals including Poetry Magazine, PN Review, Poetry Review and The North magazine. Several of her poems and a commissioned short story, Sucking Eggs, have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3. She was one of the five official poets at London Olympics 2012. Her poem, The Fun Palace, which celebrates the life and work of Joan Littlewood, is now erected on the Olympic Site outside the main stadium.
In recent years, Caroline has given poetry performances at Aldeburgh Festival, Latitude Festival, the Manchester Literature Festival, the Wellcome Collection (with Don Paterson,) the Royal Festival Hall (with Elaine Feinstein), St Hilda’s College (with Wendy Cope), the Wordsworth Trust (with Gillian Allnutt), Cheltenham Festival, and Ledbury Festival, amongst others.
Caroline Bird began writing plays as a teenager when she was the youngest ever member of the Royal Court Young Writer’s Programme, tutored by Simon Stephens. In 2011 Caroline was invited to take part in Sixty Six Books by the Bush Theatre. She wrote a piece inspired by Leviticus, directed by Peter Gill. In February 2012, her Beano-inspired musical, The Trial of Dennis the Menace was performed in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre. She is currently writing the book and lyrics for Dennis the Menace the Musical for The Old Vic.
Caroline’s new version of The Trojan Women premiered at the Gate Theatre at the end of 2012 to wide critical acclaim. Caroline’s play Chamber Piece featured as Show 3 in the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre season, premiering in October 2013, before touring the country. In 2013, Caroline was short-listed for Most Promising New Playwright at the Off-West-End Awards. In Christmas 2015, her re-twisted telling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz premiered at Northern Stage, and received a four star review in The Times.
Caroline is also an enthusiastic leader of poetry workshops. In addition to working in primary and secondary schools, she is also a regular teacher at the Arvon Foundation. She is one of the writers-in-residence for the charity First Story. She is currently mentoring three exciting poets – Rachel Long, Emma Simon and Hilary Watson – for the Jerwood Arvon Mentorship Scheme.