Born June 18, 1932, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, Geoffrey Hill attended school in the neighboring town of Fairfield. On the night of November 14, 1940, he saw Coventry blazing on the horizon. In September 1942, he entered County High School in Bromsgrove, where David Jones also studied. There Hill enjoyed acting, and found a critic of his early poems in his English teacher, Kenneth Curtis (who received the dedication of King Log).
In 1949, Hill entered Keble College, Oxford. On September 13, 1950, his poems were read on the BBC Midland Poets program. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1953, and the following year accepted a Lecturer position at the University of Leeds, remaining there until 1980. Married to Nancy Whittaker in 1956, he was visiting Lecturer to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1959-60 and to the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1967. His collaboration with Inga-Stina Ewbank leading to a verse translation of Ibsen's Brand began in 1976. The play was performed by the National Theatre, in London, in 1978.
Churchill Fellow at the University of Bristol in 1980, Hill was named Honorary Fellow at Keble College in 1981 and was a teaching fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge from 1981 to 1988. He gave the Clark Lectures at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1986. In 1987, he married Alice Goodman.
After receiving a Doctorat honoris causa from the University of Leeds in May 1988, Hill moved to the United States. Professor in the University Professor's program upon his arrival at Boston University, Geoffrey Hill is currently Professor of Literature and Religion and Co-director of the Editorial Institute. In 2001-2, courses he taught included: "Introduction to Literary Study", "Discourse and Otherness: The Ethics of Language and Voicelessness", "Literature and Religion in England, 1500-1800", "Textual Scholarship and Modern Technology: The English Bible", "Gerard Manley Hopkins".
Geoffrey Hill has received numerous awards and recognition for his work. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London. In 1996, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He gave the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Brasenose College, Oxford, in March 2000. His distinctions include:
1961 the Eric Gregory Award
1969 the Hawthornden Prize
1970 the Faber Memorial Prize
1979 the Duff Cooper memorial prize
1983 the Russell Loines Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters
1998 the Kahn Award for Canaan
2000 the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing presented by the Ingersoll Foundation
2001 the Heinemann Book Award for The Triumph of Love