Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Huddersfield, England. After studying Geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic, he worked with young offenders before gaining a postgraduate qualification in social work at Manchester University. He worked as a probation officer in Oldham until 1994.
His poetry books include Zoom! (Bloodaxe Books, 1989), Xanadu (Bloodaxe Books, 1992), and later collections published by Faber, including Kid (1992), and CloudCuckooLand (1997). He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1988. Zoom! was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for a Whitbread Poetry Award. He was named 'Most Promising Young Poet' at the inaugural Forward Poetry Prize in 1992, won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 1993, and was Poet in Residence for the New Millennium Experience Company in 1999. Mister Heracles (2000), an adaptation of Euripides' Heracles, was commissioned by the West Yorkshire Playhouse. His Selected Poems was published by Faber in 2001, followed by The Universal Home Doctor (2002) and a new verse adaptation of Homer's Odyssey in 2006.
Simon Armitage has worked extensively in film, radio and television. He wrote and presented Xanadu (1992), a 'poem film for television', broadcast by BBC television as part of the 'Words on Film' series, and his film about the American poet Weldon Kees was broadcast by the BBC in 1993. He also wrote and narrated Saturday Night, a documentary about Leeds, and Drinking for England, both broadcast by the BBC in 1996 as part of the 'Modern Times' series. Moon Country (1996), written with Glyn Maxwell, retraced a visit to Iceland in 1936 by the poets W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice, and was adapted as a six-part series, Second Draft from Saga Land, broadcast by BBC Radio 3. Out of the Blue (2008) collects three pieces written in response to the anniversaries of three conflicts: a film-poem about 9/11; a piece commissioned by Channel 5 for VE Day and a radio poem on Cambodia 30 years after the rise of the Khmer Rouge.
He is also the author of All Points North (1998), a collection of essays about the north of England and Gig (2008), a memoir of a life of music and poetry, and two novels Little Green Man (2001) and White Stuff (2004).
Simon Armitage is currently a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2004. His latest collection of poetry is Tyrannosaurus versus the Corduroy Kid (2006).