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Irish Times Poetry Now Award

Supported by The Irish Times


Date: Saturday March 28th
Venue: dlr LexIcon, Level 4
Time: 10:30am
Cost: Free Booking Required
Age: Adult


Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and The Irish Times once again present the Poetry Now award in which the winner of the best collection of 2019 is announced. This year's judges are poets Colette Bryce, Jackie Kay and Niall McMonagle. 

The shortlist for this year’s award is:

When the Tree Falls by Jane Clarke (Bloodaxe Books)

Double Negative by Vona Groake (Gallery Press)

Marine Cloud Brightening by Medbh McGuckian (Gallery Press)

Frolic and Detour by Paul Muldoon (Faber and Faber)

The Mother House by Eilean Ni Chuilleanain (Gallery Press)

Niall MacMonagle is a teacher, critic and broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Today with Sean O’Rourke programme on Radio 1. He has been an advocate for the arts and, in particular, a champion for poetry. He spent more than 30 years teaching at Wesley College in Dublin, where he founded the poetry-speaking initiative Poetry Aloud, now a nationwide competition. He was responsible for the brilliant Lifelines series and to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising, Niall published  Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916 which reflects the country’s people and beliefs, its landscape, passions and politics over the past century. He writes a weekly art column for the Sunday Independent and has edited numerous anthologies. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature by UCD in 2017 for his services to literature.

The Scots Makar Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in Bishopbriggs, a suburb of Glasgow. She studied English at the University of Stirling and her first book of poetry, the partially autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. Her other awards include the 1994 Somerset Maugham Award for Other Lovers, and the Guardian First Book Award Fiction Prize for Trumpet, based on the life of American jazz musician Billy Tipton, born Dorothy Tipton, who lived as a man for the last fifty years of his life. Kay writes extensively for stage, screen and for children. In 2010 she published Red Dust Road, an account of her search for her natural parents. Jackie Kay was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2006 and worked as Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and Cultural Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University. She took part in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books, with a piece based upon a book of the King James Bible. Since 2014, she has been Chancellor of the University of Salford.

Colette Bryce is an award-winning poet from Northern Ireland. She received the Eric Gregory Award for emerging poets in 1995. After a year teaching in Madrid, she took up a fellowship at Dundee University from 2002-05, and was subsequently appointed North East Literary Fellow at the universities of Newcastle and Durham. She currently lives in Newcastle upon Tyne where she works as a freelance writer and editor. Her first collection The Heel of Bernadette (2000) received the Aldeburgh Prize and the inaugural Strong Award for new Irish poets. She won first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition for the title poem of her second book, The Full Indian Rope Trick (2004), which was followed by Self-Portrait in the Dark in 2008. From 2009-2013 she was Poetry Editor for the journal Poetry London. She received the Cholmondeley Award for poetry in 2010. The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (2014), which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, received a Christopher Ewart-Biggs Award in memory of Seamus Heaney, and was shortlisted for the Forward, Costa, and Roehampton poetry prizes. Selected Poems (2017), was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and winner of the Pigott Poetry Prize 2018. In recent years, Colette has held writing fellowships at the universities of Newcastle, Manchester, Notre Dame and Trinity College Dublin, and most recently the 2018 Heimbold Chair in Irish Writing at Villanova University, PA. A new collection of poems, The M Pages, will be published by Picador in 2020.