Photo credit: John Feder
Sarah Holland-Batt is an award-winning poet, editor, and critic. Born in Southport, Queensland in 1982, she grew up in Australia and the United States, and has also lived in Italy and Japan. She holds a first-class Honours degree in Literature, an MPhil and a PhD from the University of Queensland, and an MFA in Poetry from New York University, where she was the W.G. Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholar from 2010-2011. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell, the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, an Asialink Literature Residency, a Chateau de Lavigny Fellowship, a Hawthornden Fellowship, a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, and the Australia Council Literature Residency at the B.R. Whiting Studio in Rome, among other honours. In 2016 she was awarded the CHASS Australia Prize for Future Leader in the Humanities.
Her first book, Aria, was the recipient of several literary prizes, including the Anne Elder Award, the Arts ACT Judith Wright Prize and the Thomas Shapcott Prize, was shortlisted in both the New South Wales and Queensland Premiers' Literary Awards, and was commended for The Age's Poetry Book of the Year. Her second book, The Hazards, won the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Kenneth Slessor Prize, the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards Judith Wright Calanthe Prize, and the John Bray Memorial Poetry Award. Her third book, The Jaguar, won the 2023 Stella Prize, the 2023 Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, and the 2023 Queensland Premier's Award for State Significance, and has been shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize and longlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the ALS Gold Medal. It was also named The Australian's 2022 Book of the Year.
Her poems have been widely published in international journals and magazines, including The New Yorker and Poetry, and have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Dutch, German, Swedish and Bahasa Indonesian. She has been a guest at literary festivals around the world, including in Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Argentina, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Indonesia. She writes criticism for publications including The Monthly, Australian Book Review, The Weekend Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald, among others, and also contributes commentary, reportage and analysis on aged care issues for media outlets including ABC News, Q&A, 7:30, The Project, The Guardian, The Australian, Inside Story, Radio National and other forums.
She has worked as an editorial consultant and assistant for publishing houses New Directions and Atria Books in New York, and as the poetry editor of Island magazine from 2014-2019. She was also the editor of Black Inc.'s The Best Australian Poems 2016 and The Best Australian Poems 2017. In 2020, supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas and the Copyright Agency, she was appointed the Poet's Voice columnist at The Australian newspaper; her collected columns for this paper were subsequently published in Fishing for Lightning: The Spark of Poetry (UQP, 2021). From 2022-23, she was the Judy Harris Writer in Residence at the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre. She presently lives in Brisbane, where she is Professor of Creative Writing and Literary Studies at QUT.