Michael Harding (born 1953) is an Irish short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, born and raised in County Cavan. He lives in County Leitrim, very near Arigna, a village located just over the county boundary in the north of County Roscommon. He is now a regular columnist with The Irish Times.
Harding went to St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, initially graduating as a lay graduate. He taught for two years in St. Patrick's College in Cavan Town, then worked as a social worker in a prison. He returned to Maynooth as a seminarian and was ordained in 1980, after which he went to work in a parish in Fermanagh. He left the priesthood in 1985, then spent seventeen years practising Buddhism. He is married to the sculptor Cathy Carmen (whom he first met in 1984) and they have a daughter Sophia.
He has published three novels: Priest (1986), The Trouble With Sarah Gullion (1988) and Bird in the Snow (2008). He became a member of Aosdána, the National Academy for Creative Artists, in 2000. He was Writer in Association with The Abbey Theatre in 1993, was short listed for the Irish Times Aer Lingus Literature Award in 1989, and was Writer in Residence at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1999. Harding has received the following awards:
- The Steward Parker Award for Theatre (1990)
- The Bank of Ireland RTÉ award for excellence in the arts (1990)
- The Hennessy Literary Award for short stories (1980)
- Best Actor, Dublin Theatre Fringe Festival (2004) for his performance in Gare St Lazare's production of Swallow.
- Nominated Best Actor in a Supporting Role – British Theatre Management Awards (2006)
- The Tinker's Curse, nominated for Best New Play at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards (2007)
- Staring at Lakes, Non-Fiction Book of the Year, 2013 Irish Book Awards
- Strawboys, Peacock Abbey Theatre, 1987
- Una Pooka, Peacock Abbey Theatre, 1989
- Misogynist, Abbey Theatre, 1990
- Burying Brian Boru, Theatre Omnibus, 1990
- Where the Heart is, Project Arts Centre, 1993
- Hubert Murray's Widow, Peacock Abbey Theatre, 1993
- The Kiss, Project Arts Centre, 1994
- Ceacht Houdini, Amharclann de hIde, 1994
- Backsides to the Wind, Red Kettle, 1995
- Sour Grapes, Peacock Abbey Theatre, 1997
- Amazing Grace, Peacock Abbey Theatre, 1998
- Bog Dances, Steve Wickham and Shake the Spear Theatre @ Dunamaise Arts Centre, 2000
- Sleeping a Lovesong, Project Arts Centre, 2002
- Talking Through His Hat, Dublin Fringe Festival @ The Focus, 2002
- Swallow, Gare St Lazare Players @ Dublin Fringe Festival, 2003
- Birdie Birdie, for Blue Raincoat Theatre, 2004
- Tearmann for Siamsa Tire, The National Folk Theatre of Ireland, 2006
- The Tinker's Curse, Livin' Dred Theatre Company, 2007.
- Is There Balm in Gilead? Pavilion Theatre Dublin, 2007