This month’s Words and Art, curated by Nicki Heinen and once again with live art from Aurelie Freoua is once again broadcast live on Zoom.
Nick Drake is a poet, screenwriter, and playwright.
His father was Czech, his mother English; he grew up in Hertfordshire, studied at Cambridge University, and then lived for several years in the Alpujarras mountains, south of Granada, assisting Paul O’Prey to edit Between Moon and Moon (Hutchinson 1984), the second volume of Robert Graves’ letters, and writing The Poetry of W.B.Yeats for Penguin (1991).
Nick was literary assistant at the National Theatre, where he commissioned the first three series of the Connections Project; Literary Manager at the Bush Theatre; and head of development at InterMedia Films working on projects including Hilary and Jackie, Sliding Doors, Iris, Enigma and The Quiet American, and with film makers such as Anthony Minghella, Terrence Malick and Ridley Scott.
His first collection, The Man in the White Suit (Bloodaxe 1999) was a Poetry Society Recommendation and won the Waterstones/Forward Prize for Best First Collection. It was followed by From The Word Go(Bloodaxe 2006).
In 2010 Nick was invited by Cape Farewell to join a group of artists and scientists on a voyage around the Svalbard archipelago, close to the North Pole, to witness and respond creatively to climate change. The Farewell Glacier (Bloodaxe 2012), is a book-length poem inspired by that journey.
Nick collaborated with United Visual Artists on the award-winning installation High Arctic (National Maritime Museum 2011). Set in 2100AD, High Arctic is a monument to an Arctic past (and future), which used recordings of the poem’s many voices – from explorers to the ice itself telling their stories – to invite the audience to think about human impact in the Arctic region and contemplate its fragility, its beauty, and its scale.
His first screenplay, an adaptation of Raimond Gaita’s Romulus, My Father, was directed by Richard Roxburgh, and starred Eric Bana, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Franka Potente. Released in 2007, it won Best Film at the Australian Film Awards, and the screenplay was shortlisted for Best Screenplay. It was the highest grossing domestic film of that year.
Other film writing includes: an adaptation of William Dalrymple’s White Mughals for Rainmark Films, Ralph Fiennes attached to direct; an adaptation of Marco Pierre White’s Devil in the Kitchen for Scott Free with Anand Tucker to direct; Out Of Russia based on the true story of Brian Grover, for Shoebox Films; Second Best Bed, about Shakespeare’s last year in Stratford, for Ecosse Films; a film about Bradley Manning for producer Dan Lupovitz. He has collaborated with Hassan Abdulrazzak on the film adaptation of Hassan’s play Baghdad Wedding for Focus Features; and with James Marsh on an adaptation of Graham Joyce’s novel The Silent Land, also for Focus.
Theatre work includes: To Reach the Clouds, an adaptation of Philippe Petit’s account of his walk between the Twin Towers (Nottingham Playhouse 2007); Success for National Theatre Connections (2009); All The Angels (Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe Theatre 2015).
Nick wrote the libretto for a new opera Between Worlds, composer Tansy Davies, directed by Deborah Warner, for ENO, which premiered at the Barbican, in 2015.
He has also written a trilogy of crime novels set in 18th Dynasty Egypt; Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead; Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows; and Egypt: The Book of Chaos (all Bantam). The books are currently being adapted for TV by Patrick Harbinson for Mammoth Screen.