Hannah Sullivan

(1979 - Present)

Poet and scholar Hannah Sullivan was born in London and grew up in Ealing, West London. Her father, the child of Irish immigrants from Bantry, County Cork, encouraged her interest in poetry at an early age.

Sullivan studied classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a double-starred first. Next, she studied comparative literature for a year at Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar, then earned her master’s of research in cultural studies at the London Consortium. She returned to Harvard for her PhD in English and American literature, finishing in 2008. She remained in the United States for three more years, working as an assistant professor of English literature at Stanford University, before returning to the UK.

In 2013, Sullivan published an academic monograph, The Work of Revision (Harvard University Press). Her book makes the argument that the new technology of the typewriter facilitated the development of Modernist style by writers such as T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Henry James, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf. The Work of Revision won the 2014 Rose Mary Crawshay Prize and the 2015 University English Book Prize. She was also awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize toward research for a second critical work about free verse.

Sullivan’s debut poetry collection, Three Poems (Faber & Faber, 2018), won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry and the John Pollard International Prize for a first collection, as well as being shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, the Ted Hughes Award, and the Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Was It for This, was published by Faber in 2023. She is an associate professor of English at New College, Oxford University, and lives in London with her husband and two children.


More Hannah Sullivan

Audio: Sullivan reads three poems for Poetry Archive

Video: Sullivan reads her poem "Happy Birthday" from Was It for This

Text: Read an excerpt from Three Poems at Literary Hub


Photo by Matthew Thompson.