Sinéad Morrissey

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Sinead Morrissey at the Durham Book Festival in 2015

Sinéad Morrissey (born 24 April 1972 in Portadown, County Armagh[1]) is a Northern Irish poet.[2][3] In January 2014 she won the T. S. Eliot Prize for her fifth collection Parallax and in 2017 she won the Forward Prize for Poetry for her sixth collection On Balance.


In my dream the dead have arrived
to wash the windows of my house.
There are no blinds to shut them out with.

The clouds above the Lough are stacked
like the clouds are stacked above Delft.
They have the glutted look of clouds over water.

The heads of the dead are huge. I wonder
if it’s my son they’re after, his
effortless breath, his ribbon of years ─

but he sleeps on unregarded in his cot,
inured, it would seem, quite naturally
to the sluicing and battering and pairing back of glass

that delivers this shining exterior …

excerpt from "Through the Square Window"[4]

Raised in Belfast, she was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where she took BA and PhD degrees. After periods living in Japan and New Zealand she now lives in Newcastle. She was appointed writer-in-residence and then Reader in Creative Writing at Queen's University, Belfast. In 2016 she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle.[5] Morrissey has two children.[6]


She has published six collections of poetry: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2001), The State of the Prisons (2005), Through the Square Window (2009), and Parallax (2013), the second, third and fourth of which were shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2017 she published her sixth collection On Balance, which was awarded the Forward Prize for Poetry.


She won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1990. Her collection, The State of the Prisons, was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award in 2006. The same collection won the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize in 2005. In November 2007, she received a Lannan Foundation Fellowship for "distinctive literary merit and for demonstrating potential for continued outstanding work".[3] Her poem "Through the Square Window" won first prize in the 2007 British National Poetry Competition.[7] Her collection, Through the Square Window, won the Poetry Now Award for 2010.[8]

In January 2014 Morrissey won the T.S. Eliot Prize for her fifth collection Parallax.[2] The chair of the judging panel, Ian Duhig, remarked that the collection was 'politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language, her book is as many-angled and any-angled as its title suggests.'[9]

In September 2017 Morrissey's sixth collection On Balance was awarded the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. In 2019 she was a contributor to A New Divan: A Lyrical Dialogue between East and West (Gingko Library).


  • There Was Fire in Vancouver (Carcanet Press, 1996)
  • Between Here and There (Carcanet Press, 2001)
  • The State of the Prisons (Carcanet Press, 2005)
  • Through the Square Window (Carcanet Press, 2009)
  • Parallax: And Selected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2013)
  • On Balance (Carcanet Press, 2017)

Pamphlets and Limited Editions[edit]

  • The Italian Chapel - (Metal engravings by Maribel Mas. Published by Andrew J Moorhouse, Fine Press Poetry, 2019)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sinead Morrissey's page on the British Council's website.
  2. ^ a b Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey wins prestigious TS Eliot Prize
  3. ^ a b "Detailed Biographical Information: Sinéad Morrissey". Lannan Foundation. Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  4. ^ "The Poetry Society (Through the Square Window)". The Poetry Society. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008.
  5. ^ "Dr Sinead Morrissey". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  6. ^ Brankin, Una. "Dr Sinead Morrissey: Poetry in motion". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  7. ^ "The Poetry Society (The Winner of the National Poetry Competition 2007)". The Poetry Society. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008.
  8. ^ Sinead Morrissey wins €5,000 'Irish Times' Poetry Now award Irish Times, 2010-03-27.
  9. ^ "Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey wins prestigious TS Eliot Prize"

External links[edit]