Award-winning poet joins University’s English School

Sinéad Morrissey at Durham Book Festival.
Image: Flickr, Summonedbyfells.Sinéad Morrissey at Durham Book Festival. Image: Flickr, Summonedbyfells.

Sinéad Morrissey, a celebrated poet born in Northern Ireland, has just been appointed as a Professor of Creative Writing in the School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics at Newcastle University.

Sinéad Morrissey is the author of five collections of poetry, winning TS Eliot Prize in 2013 with her most recent work, Parallax.

In a review for The Guardian, Parallax was seen as ‘’a book that reveals an interest of multiple senses – photographic, philosophical and political’’. And according to Paul Batchelor, her poems “come to us with the intimacy of whispered secrets.”

Ms Morrissey said to the University’s Press Office:

“I am looking forward to being part of such a dynamic and distinguished creative writing teaching team, and to playing a leading role in the future development of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.” 

She is a third winner of TS Eliot Prize to the university staff, along with Jacob Polley, who won this year for Jackself, and Professor Sean O’Brien – his The Drowned Book took top honours in 2007.

Dr James Annesley, Head of the School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics said:

“This is a great day for our school and the University, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be welcoming Sinéad.”

The work of Morrissey has received a huge appreciation including the Patrick Kavanagh Award (of which she was the youngest ever winner), the Michael Hartnett Prize and the Irish Times/Poetry Now Award.

In 2007 she took first prize in the National Poetry Competition with ‘Through the Square Window’, a poem that depicts an image of the dead gathering outside a window with that of a child sleeping peacefully indoors.

In 2015 she became a laureate in the Durham Book Festival.  In her final selection of poems there Morrissey used different voices, from Sherlock Holmes to a character in Vanity Fair to her coal mining grandfather.

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, she received her further education at Trinity College, Dublin, then travelled, living in both Japan and New Zealand, before returning to her birthplace. In 2002 she was appointed Writer in Residence at Queen’s University Belfast, and she is currently Reader in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, at Queen’s.

Morrissey’s work can be recognised by her approach to wide-ranging subjects, which is brought out by her soft yet intense reading style. She creates intimate poems touching on family and motherhood, as well as multi-dimensional features.

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