Elaine Feeney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elaine Feeney
Elaine Feeney.jpg
BornAthenry, County Galway, Ireland
Notable worksWhere's Katie? (2010)

The Radio Was Gospel (2013) Rise (2017)

As You Were (2020)
Notable awards
  • McKitterick Prize Winner 2021
  • Dalkey Emerging Writer Winner 2021
  • Kate O'Brien Winner 2021
  • Rathbones Folio Shortlist 2021
  • Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year Shortlisted 2021
  • Cuirt Grand Slam
  • North Beaches Night Poetry Prize
  • Poetry Ireland Ambassador

Elaine Feeney is an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright. Her writing focuses on "the central themes of history, national identity, and state institutions, and she examines how these forces structure the everyday lives of Irish women".[1] A former slam poetry winner,[2] she has been described as "an experienced writer who has been wrestling with poetry on page and on stage since 2006"[3] and in 2015 was heralded as "one of the most provocative poets to come out of Ireland in the last decade".[4] Her work has been widely translated, including into Italian, Lithuanian, and Slovene.[5]

Feeney's debut novel, As You Were, was won at auction in December 2019.[6] It was published by Penguin Random House, under the Harvill Secker imprint, on 20 August 2020.[7] In January 2020 the Observer newspaper choose Feeney as one of the best debut novelists of the year[8] and the book has been shortlisted for the 2021 Folio Prize and the Dalkey Literary Award (Emerging Writer) 2021.[9][10][11][12]

Personal life[edit]

Feeney grew up on a farm in Athenry, Co. Galway.[13] She attended Scoil Croi Naofa, Athenry, Presentation College Athenry, University College Galway (now National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)), University College Cork and University of Limerick. She lives in Athenry with her husband, the graphic designer Ray Glasheen, and sons Jack and Finn.[5]

Professional life[edit]

Feeney teaches English at St. Jarlath's College, Tuam. She is also creative writing teacher at NUIG, where she is Creative Director for the Tuam Oral History Project.[14] Her festival performances include Cúirt International Literature Festival, The Ex-Border Festival in Italy, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Vilenica Festival and The Electric Picnic.[5] Her magazine publications include Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Manchester Review, Stonecutter Journal and Coppernickel.[15] Feeney's work has been collected by the Irish Poetry Reading Archive at University College Dublin.[1] She is a regular leader of writing workshops - including for the Galway Feminist Collective and Cúirt International Literature Festival.[16][17] Her work has been broadcast by RTÉ and other broadcasters.[2] Feeney's political views have been sought by publications including the Irish Times.[18] In response to a question about politics and her poetry she told headstuff.org: "I think all humans are political, at least the political world would have you believe, or inflict this on you, and each of us in our own peculiar way eventually marches to this tune, whether it’s complicit, as agitator, or an escapist or whatever way you have actively chosen to live your life."[19]


Feeney is the author of three poetry collections, a play text, and a novel. The novelist, Mike McCormack, has written that her poems have "a pounding physical presence yet they run away with the mind."[20] A review of her most recent collection, Rise, in PN Review, states that its effect is "to explode the idea of canon with an intense exploration of personal life and its public manifestations".[21] Speaking to The Poetry Review in 2017 Feeney described her approach to writing: "I rarely remember the actual physical act of writing a poem. Some take days, some years".[22] In 2020, before the launch of her debut novel, she told The Observer she had an anxiety around writing a novel that I didn’t feel around writing poetry, weirdly ... Also I had my first son quite young – I was only 22 – and poetry was quicker."[8] Elsewhere she has said that "sometimes my work comes in madly chaotic spurts, uncomfortable intrusions, poem ideas often come at me, quite brutally out of nowhere, and I’ll write them, and I may never be able to fully explain them, and sometimes they leaving me feeling really uncomfortable and awkward."[19]

Elaine was the winner of the 2021 Dalkey Literary Awards 'emerging writer' award.[23]

In April 2022 Harvill Secker bought Feeney's second novel, How to Build a Boat in a 'major' two-novel deal from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White [24]


Poetry collections[edit]

  • Where's Katie? (2010, Salmon Poetry)[25]
  • The Radio was Gospel (2013, Salmon Poetry)[26]
  • Rise (2017, Salmon Poetry)[20]


  • As You Were (2020, Harvill Secker)[7]


Short Stories[edit]

  • A Little Unsteadily Into Light (2022, New Island Books)[28]


  1. ^ "The State of Us". www.drb.ie. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  2. ^ Higgins, Kevin (7 April 2011). "Elaine Feeney: one of Ireland's growing band of young political poets". Galway Advertiser.
  3. ^ "We'll Sing Blackbird / Consent / The Radio Was Gospel". The Stinging Fly. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  4. ^ "PoetryFest gets a broader focus". Irish Echo. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Service (clouddataservice.co.uk), Cloud Data. "Poetry". Honest Ulsterman. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Harvill Secker wins Elaine Feeney's first novel at auction | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b Feeney, Elaine. "As You Were". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b Observer, The (26 January 2020). "Introducing our 10 best debut novelists of 2020". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Folio Prize 2021 shortlist announced". Books+Publishing. 11 February 2021. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Emerging Writer Award Shortlist 2021". Zurich Insurance. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  11. ^ "The McKitterick Prize". The Society of Authors.
  12. ^ Sinéad Crowley (20 June 2021). "Dalkey Literary Awards winners announced". RTÉ.
  13. ^ "LC Authority file".
  14. ^ "January - NUI Galway". www.nuigalway.ie. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  15. ^ "elaine-feeney". RCW Literary Agency. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Writing for Change - creative writing workshops w/ Elaine Feeney". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  17. ^ Centre, Arts (7 April 2020). "Cúirt to Host Digital Festival of Literature - Press Release". Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Irish writers on Election 2020: 'I want a revolutionary party'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Elaine Feeney Should Come With A Trigger Warning". HeadStuff. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  20. ^ a b "salmonpoetry.com | Rise by Elaine Feeney". Salmon Poetry. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  21. ^ "PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine - Clap Hands and SingElaine Feeney, Rise (Salmon Poetry) €12;Joan McBreen, Map and Atlas (Salmon Poetry) €12;Kerrie O'Brien, Illuminate (Salmon Poetry) €12 Cian Murphy - PN Review 238". www.pnreview.co.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  22. ^ ""Your head will be well" – Elaine Feeney and the inspiration of Roethke in Galway – The Poetry Society". poetrysociety.org.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Winner of the Emerging Writer 2021". www.zurich.ie. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  24. ^ "Harvill Secker scoops vibrant Feeney novel in two-book deal".
  25. ^ "salmonpoetry.com | Where's Katie? by Elaine Feeney". Salmon Poetry. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  26. ^ "salmonpoetry.com | The Radio was Gospel by Elaine Feeney". Salmon Poetry. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Wrongheaded". lizrochecompany. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  28. ^ "A Little Unsteadily Into Light". New Island Books. Retrieved 28 January 2023.

External links[edit]