English writer and librettist Melanie Challenger made her Royal Opera debut in 2016 as librettist for Mark Simpson’s Pleasure, a co-production and co-commission between The Royal Opera, Aldeburgh Music and Opera North.
Challenger was born in Oxford and studied at Oxford University. Her first collection of poems Galatea (Salt, 2006) won the Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Award and was nominated for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. She was an Arts Council International Fellow for the British Antarctic Survey 2007–08, which she used as research for the non-fiction book On Extinction (Granta, 2011), winner of the 2013 Green Award. She co-authored with Zlata Filipović Stolen Voices (Penguin, 2006), on young people’s experiences during conflict, which is used by Amnesty International as a companion piece on their curriculum guide on human rights. Challenger is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Philosophy of Durham University.
Challenger’s work as a librettist includes James Whitbourn’s oratorio Annelies, adapted from the diaries of Anne Frank and first performed at Westminster Palace on the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust, and Simpson’s oratorio The Immortal for Manchester International Festival.
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