ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Poet Catherine Phil MacCarthy of Dublin, Ireland will receive the eighteenth annual Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies. 
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MacCarthy will read from her work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11, in the auditorium of the John Roach Center on St. Thomas' St. Paul campus. The reading, free and open to the public, will cap a week of events, classroom visits and public appearances by the poet. 

MacCarthy will take part in a public conversation with local poet Matt Rasmussen on April 8, titled “The Island of Poetry: Small Places in a Large World.” Matt Rasmussen is a widely published poet whose first book, Black Aperture (2012) won the Walt Whitman Award and was a finalist for the National Book award. The event is at 7:00 PM at the Merriam Park Branch Library,  1831 Marshall Avenue in St Paul.    

Both events are co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, a non-profit group that advocates for the library.    

The $5,000 O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets.  The award is named for Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, formerly served on the university's board of trustees and the retired head of the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation.    

Catherine Phil MacCarthy was born in County Limerick in 1954. She has been a full-time writer since 1999, and is frequent teacher and workshop leader at schools and festivals throughout Ireland .  Her previous honors have included being a finalist for the Patrick Kavanagh Award for a first collection; The Fish International Poetry Prize in 2010; and multiple awards from The Irish Arts Council. Last year, she completed an artist’s residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris during Spring 2013.

She is the author of four collections of poetry,   This Hour of the Tide (Salmon Press, 1994), the blue globe (1998), Suntrap (2007), both from Blackstaff press; and The Invisible Threshold, (Dedalus Press 2012). She is also the author of a novel, One Room an Everywhere (Blackstaff, 2003). 

Previous winners of the O'Shaughnessy Award are Eavan Boland, John F. Deane, Peter Sirr,  Louis de Paor,  Moya Cannon, Frank Orsmby, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Coady, Kerry Hardie, Dennis O’Driscoll,  Seán Lysaght, Pat Boran, Mary O’Malley, Theo Dorgan,  Leanne O’Sullivan, Gerard Smyth and Leontia Flynn.  

For more information, please contact Jim Rogers, director of the Center for Irish Studies, (651) 962-5662, or send electronic mail to

Please note: A black and white photograph of  MacCarthy is  available and can be sent to you as an e-mail attachment. Please e-mail your request to  You'll get a quick response.



The Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas advances teaching and scholarship in Irish Studies for Students, faculty 

and friends of the university through publications, instruction and public programs; enriches the international dimensions of education at St. Thomas; and affirms the many historic and contemporary bonds between the university, Ireland and the Irish-American community.

The Irish Family at Home and Abroad

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