Sinéad Morrissey was born in Northern Ireland in 1972 and grew up in Belfast. As an undergraduate, she studied English and German at Trinity College, Dublin, and went on to gain a PhD in eighteenth-century literature.
She has published six collections of poetry with Carcanet Press: There Was Fire in Vancouver (winner of an Eric Gregory Award in 1996), Between Here and There (winner of the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award and shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize in 2002), The State of the Prisons (winner of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Commonwealth Literature Prize and the T S Eliot Prize and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in 2005), Through the Square Window (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T S Eliot Prize, Poetry Book Society Choice and winner of the Irish Times Poetry Prize in 2009), Parallax (shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and winner of both the T S Eliot Prize and the Irish Times Poetry Prize in 2013), and On Balance (Poetry Book Society Choice and winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, 2017). In 2015, Parallax and Selected Poems, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (New York) was a finalist in the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Poetry. In 2016 she received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Further awards include a Lannan Literary Fellowship and first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition.
She is the co-editor of The Future Always Makes Me So Thirsty: New Poets from the North of Ireland (Blackstaff Press, 2016) and collaborated with composer Piers Hellawell and Fidelio Trio on a voice/music co-production, Up by the Roots, broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune” in July 2016 and performed at the Cheltenham Festival.
Morrissey served as Belfast’s inaugural Poet Laureate (2013-2014), undertaking an extensive program of poetry workshops in schools, prisons, and other community settings. In 2016, Parallax was selected as the most important Irish artwork of any genre for the year 2013 in Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks, edited by Fintan O’Toole.
A former assistant director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast, she has recently taken up position at Newcastle University as a Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA). She will also be teaching on the MA in Creative Writing and supervising Creative Writing PhD students with a focus on poetry.
Sponsored by the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts