about Kenneth White

Extraordinary Kenneth White ! Anarchist and Nietzschean with an appetite for experience and a desire for a « supra-personal » space as he calls it, he’s away off the ordinary map. He brings together West and East, the near and the far, poetry and everyday living. Kenneth, with the wind on his heels and his brain ablaze !
André Laude, Les Nouvelles littéraires

Octavio Paz speaks of a silent vanguard, in solitary rebellion against not only the entrenched establishments but the modernist cliques. It’s to this vanguard that Kenneth White belongs.
Revista de la Universidad de México

An intellectual nomad of genius.
Caatherine Lockerbie,The Scotsman, Edinburgh

His learning is filled with laughter, it is the Nietzschean Fröhliche Wissenschaft, the French gai savoir, knowledge dissolved in its own joyfulness, and his mind darts like a kingfisher through the mental and physical world.
Douglas Sealy, Irish Times, Dublin

It seems we are looking for a new prophet. It could be that White is the very man.
John McAlpine, Sunday Times, London

When the dust has finally settled on the twentieth century… what will Scotia have to offer in terms of international genius ? Damn few an’ they’ll a’ be deid… except for the enigmatic White.
Pat MorrisseyCencrastus, Edinburgh

Travelling out on his own ways, Kenneth White is bound to appear more and more as the foremost English-language poet of these times.
Gérard GuéganLe Nouvel Observateur, Paris

Titles & distinctions
University Degrees

M. A. Honours 1st class, Glasgow.
Docteur d’État, Paris.


Professor (Chair of 20th Century Poetics), University of Paris-Sorbonne 1983-1996.
Visiting Professor at the Millenium Project, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland.
Founder-President of the International Institute of Geopoetics.

Distinctions honorifiques

D. Litt. Hon. Causa, University of Glasgow.
D. Litt. Hon. Causa, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh.
D. Litt. Hon. Causa, Open University.
Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres, 1986.
Officier dans l’ordre des Arts et Lettres, 1993.
Honorary member, Royal Scottish Academy.

Literary Prizes

Prix Médicis étranger for La Route bleue, 1983.
Grand prix du rayonnement français de l’Académie française for his work as a whole, 1985.
Grand prix Question de for Une apocalypse tranquille, 1986.
Grand prix Alfred de Vigny for Atlantica, 1987.
Premio Aleramo (Italy) for Scotia Deserta, 1996.
Insigne poeta de la Generación del 27, Málaga, 1997.
Prix Roger Caillois for his work as a whole, 1998.
Prix ARDUA for his work as a whole, Bordeaux, 2002.
Prix Édouard Glissant (Université de Paris 8) for his openness to the cultures of the world, 2004.
Prix Bretagne for his work as a whole, 2006.
Premio Grinzane-Biamonti (Italy) for his work as a whole, 2008.
Grand Prix Maurice Genevoix de l’Académie française for Les Affinités extrêmes, 2010.
Prix Alain Bosquet for Les Archives du littoral, 2011.


Kenneth White’s archives are deposited as follows:

  • English documents at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.
  • French documents at the IMEC (Institut mémoires de l’édition contemporaine), Abbaye d’Ardenne, 14280 Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe.
  • Another collection of documents and objects bearing on ecology has been deposited at the Musée du vivant, Paris.

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