Kate Tempest grew up in South-East London, where she still lives.
Her work includes Balance, her first album with her band Sound of Rum; Everything Speaks in its Own Way, a collection of poems on her own Zingaro imprint; GlassHouse, a play for Cardboard Citizens; and the Paines Plough commissioned plays Wasted (published by Methuen) and Hopelessly Devoted (published by Methuen).
Her epic poem Brand New Ancients won the Ted Hughes Prize 2013 (Kate being the only ever recipient under 40) and the Herald Angel at Edinburgh, and toured on both sides of the Atlantic to a live score. It is published by Picador.
Her first full collection of poetry, Hold Your Own was published by Picador in October 2014 and received wide critical acclaim, with Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times claiming her to be “a wunderkind rapper [with a] gift for shattering — and transcending — convention and conventional genres...While her intense performances on stage add a fierce urgency to the words, these text versions of her work stand powerfully on their own on the page...using her pictorial imagination to sear specific images into the reader’s mind."
In the same fortnight in October, she was awarded the Poetry Society's Next Generation Poet, a once a decade accolade and her debut solo album, Everybody Down (Big Dada Records, 2014), was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Her debut novel, The Bricks That Built The Houses (Bloomsbury, April 2016), was a Sunday Times Bestseller and has been published to critical acclaim in the UK, US, Australia, Brazil and Germany with editions to come in Spain, Italy, France, Holland, Sweden and Denmark. It won the Books are My Bag Breakthrough Author Award.
Her album Let Them Eat Chaos was released in 2016, alongside a volume of poetry of the lyrics (Picador), and was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the Costa Prize for Poetry, respectively.
Her latest collection of poems, Running Upon the Wires, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim (Picador).
For amateur performing rights in Wasted and Hopelessly Devoted, spoken word/poetry performances and permissions, or any general enquiries about Kate’s literary output including stage, film and TV, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent praise for The Bricks That Built the Houses:
“Soaring … Tempest's flair for language is tempered by her sense of rhythm and pace … In Tempest's London, no one is insignificant; everyone has a story. The devotion and care with which she recounts these tales ... is deeply affecting: cinematic in scope; touching in its empathic humanity … Tempest's voice – by turns raging and tender – never falters” – New York Times Book Review
“One of the leading wordsmiths of our time … She turns her raw, observational skills in book form” – Jon Snow, Channel 4 News
“This is a bold, bright, beguiling novel; a lustrous pageant that dazzles and grips … An irresistible, immersive snapshot of a changing world, delivered in woozy, staccato sentences … There's great pleasure to be taken from Tempest's debut … She may well be unstoppable” – Sunday Telegraph
“This book is almost everything I hoped it would be. That is praise indeed, as I had high hopes ... As lyrical as it is gritty, and as devoted to (south-east) London as it is to humanity, with all its foibles” – New Statesman
“Tempest has a knack for the devastating throwaway line – a skill-honed, no doubt, from years of rapping and spoken-word performances. Her work is rich with underlinable lines … Captivating” – New Yorker
“Blistering ****” – NME
“Explosive … Fresh and vivid visions of a familiar world … It recalls two other great, recent, experimental novels about being young: Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing. There's the same sense of daring and linguistic inventiveness, the same feeling of language pushed to its limits … It fairly flies off the page” – Observer
“A remarkable piece of writing, filled with verbal echoes and half-rhymes ... [One reads] for the pinpoint evocation of a milieu, its texture and contours, all delivered with an intensely gathered and focused energy ... Transformative” – Guardian
“Tempest is a worthy champion for a generation of disillusioned youth … Her lyrical talent comes through” – Sunday Times
“Tempest's words really soar from the grime of London … Smart, lyrical observations of city life won me over … Tempest proves her witty, unique take on the world ****” – Stylist
“Tempest is brilliant at capturing a distinctly contemporary state of mind...She has a poetic sensibility that feels physically hewn from London's unloved corners ... Her writing has a startling, unmediated freshness reminiscent of Jack Kerouac ... Full of beauty” – Metro
“A startling debut novel … " – Vogue
“A whirlwind journey through modern city life ... You'll be gripped from start to finish” – Elle
“A lager-stained, rain-soaked love letter to London … Flows like a prose poem about drugs, dual carriageways and desire” – Red