NielsHavRaised on a farm in western Denmark, Niels Havtoday resides in the most colourful and multi-ethnic part of the capital, Copenhagen. He is a full-time poet and short story writer who has travelled widely in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

A contemporary Nordic voice, Hav has published six collections of poetry and three books of short fiction in his native Danish. His work has been translated into several languages such as Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.

The recipient of a number of prestigious awards fromThe Danish Arts Council, Hav has also published under Book Thug, a collection in English, titled We Are Here, alongside poetry and fiction published in numerous magazines, anthologies and journals. 

On his thoughts on poetry, Hav poignantly articulates that “If a poem is to be of interest to anyone other than the poet, it must in some sense be emblematic. When I write a poem about my Dad, the poem must be so exemplary that the reader can move in and take over the poem and be there with his own father. I'm not oiling the reader with my private feelings and reflections - that would prevent him from using the poem for anything at all, then it would just be about me. The poem must be designed or developed such that the reader can feel at home there with his personal thoughts and feelings and make the words into his own words. Now they belong to her or to him…”

As part of this year’s Poetry Africa festival, Niels Hav travels to South Africa for the first time.