Vahni Capildeo was born in Port of Spain, acquiring a love of traditional masquerade, and lives in Edinburgh. Each of their seven books and several pamphlets explores a new poetic approach, from the autobiography in everyone else’s voice of No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003) to the calligrams of Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) and immersive theatre of Skin Can Hold (Carcanet, 2019). Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020) touches on the Odyssey, the Windrush, Buile Suibhne, and coffee.
Capildeo read English at Christ Church, Oxford, continuing to a MSt in medieval studies and a DPhil in Old Norse.
They have received the Cholmondeley Award (Society of Authors); the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016); the Judith E. Wilson Fellowship and Harper-Wood Studentship (University of Cambridge); a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellowship (University of Leeds), and a UNESCO Poetry Fellowship (University of East Anglia).
Capildeo is a Seamus Heaney Centre Fellow at Queen's University Belfast (2019-20) and Writer in Residence at the University of York.