Polly Devlin

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Polly Devlin

Ardboe, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Alma maternone
RelativesBarry Devlin Bay Garnett. Marie Heaney. Seamus Heaney Rose Garnett Daisy Garnett Tom Craig Nicholas Pearson Claire Devlin. Helen Harvey. Val Devlin Tom Browne Tom Fisher

Polly Devlin OBE (born 1944) is a writer and broadcaster from Northern Ireland.


She was born in Ardboe, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, then a remote area without telephones or electricity. She left for London after winning the Vogue magazine Talent competition, working there as Features Editor.[1][2][3]

She also wrote a column for the New Statesman and she had her own page in the Evening Standard a year later. She moved to Manhattan in 1967 becoming a features editor and writer for Diana Vreeland[4] on American Vogue. She reviewed theatre and film and interviewed Barbra Streisand, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, John Osborne, Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol among many others. When she moved back to England, she attended the National Film School for four years and directed a one-hour documentary The Daisy Chain. She also wrote for The Observer, The Sunday Times, Vogue, and many other newspapers and magazines.[citation needed]

She has been a Booker Prize judge (1984),[5] Irish Times Literary Award judge (1994), Pushkin Prize judge (1998) and was awarded the OBE for Services to Literature in the 1992 Birthday Honours.

She currently writes a column for The Big Issue[6] and is Adjunct Professor at Barnard College[7] Columbia University, New York teaching creative non-fiction. She is also Northern Ireland panel member on BBC Radio 4 Round Britain Quiz[8]

She has five sisters and one brother, Barry Devlin who is bass player and vocalist in the Irish Celtic rock band Horslips. Her sister Marie[9] is an editor and writer (Over Nine Waves, a collection of Irish myths and legends) who married the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.[10][11] In 1967 Polly married Andy Garnett[12] an industrialist, philanthropist and writer of books including Steel Wheels, A Social History of Railways[13] and Lucky Dog,[14] a memoir. Together they had three daughters Rose Garnett,[15] Head of Development at Film 4,[16] Daisy Garnett[17] writer and journalist and Bay Garnett fashion stylist, author and editor.[citation needed]


  • All of us There[18][19] a social history. Many re-prints. Latest Virago Modern Classics
  • The Far side of the Lough[20] Short stories. Re-published O'Brien Press 1999
  • Vogue Book of Fashion Photography.[21] Thames and Hudson. 1979
  • Dora or the Shifts of the Heart[22][23] a novel pub 1993 Chatto and Windus. Serialised for 13 weeks on Radio 4
  • Dublin a Guide Book[24] 1996
  • Only Sometimes Looking Sideways[25][26] A Book of Essays. O'Brien Press 1998
  • A Year in the Life of an English Meadow[27][28] Frances Lincoln 2007
  • A Guide to Ceramics for the National Gallery Ireland

New York: Places to Write Home About Pimpernel Press 2017 New York:Behind Closed Doors: Gibbs-Smith. USA 2017

  • Film: The Daisy Chain[29] A documentary film: director and writer.
  • Radio Play: The Hiring Fair[30]


  1. ^ "Vogue Editor Beatrix Miller Remembered". Vogue UK. 24 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Vogue Magazine Cover Archive: In This Issue". Vogue UK. August 1964.
  3. ^ "Vogue Magazine Cover Archive: In This Issue". Vogue UK. December 1964.
  4. ^ "Polly Devlin". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Who's Who – The Man Booker Prizes". themanbookerprize.com.
  6. ^ "Polly Devlin". Big Issue.
  7. ^ "Polly Devlin". barnard.edu.
  8. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Round Britain Quiz". BBC.
  9. ^ "Marie Heaney". faber.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Seamus Heaney remembered by Polly Devlin". the Guardian.
  11. ^ "Seamus Heaney's poetic legacy recalled by friends and admirers in Washington". Irish Times.
  12. ^ "Andy Garnett: Leading figure of the 1950s London set who later helped develop one of Britain's most innovative engineering firms". The Independent.
  13. ^ Simon Jenkins. "Simon Jenkins: Thrill to the steam engine, the most radical machine ever built". the Guardian.
  14. ^ Andy Garnett. "Memories of a Lucky Dog". blurb.com.
  15. ^ "Rose Garnett". IMDb.
  16. ^ "Film4 announces Rose Garnett as new Head of Development – Channel 4 – Info – Press". channel4.com.
  17. ^ "Daisy Garnett – At The Kitchen Table". sophiedahl.com.
  18. ^ "All of us there – Troubles Archive". troublesarchive.com.
  19. ^ "All of Us There (Virago Modern Classics): Polly Devlin: 9781844080441: Amazon.com: Books". amazon.com.
  20. ^ "The Far Side of the Lough: Stories from an Irish Childhood: Amazon.co.uk: Polly Devlin: 9780416518207: Books". amazon.co.uk.
  21. ^ Polly Devlin. "Vogue Book of Fashion Photography 1919–1979". Goodreads.
  22. ^ "Polly devlin – Troubles Archive". troublesarchive.com.
  23. ^ "Dora, or, The shifts of the heart". google.co.uk.
  24. ^ "Dublin (American Express Travel Guides): Amazon.co.uk: Polly Devlin: 9781857329674: Books". amazon.co.uk.
  25. ^ "Only Sometimes Looking Sideways: Amazon.co.uk: Polly Devlin: 9780862785642: Books". amazon.co.uk.
  26. ^ "Only Sometimes Looking Sideways". google.co.uk.
  27. ^ "A book of Soviet bus stops? It's just what I've always wanted". the Guardian.
  28. ^ BBC. "BBC – Radio 4 Woman's Hour -English Meadows". bbc.co.uk.
  29. ^ "The Daisy Chain by Polly Devlin". Harvard Film Archive.
  30. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – The Lunar Effect, The Hiring Fair". BBC.

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