Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry

The Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry was established in 1997 to honor outstanding Irish poets. Since then, the Center for Irish Studies has invited and celebrated many world-renowned poets with the support of the St. Thomas and Twin Cities communities.

The Center for Irish Studies was established by the award’s namesake, Lawrence O’Shaughnessy, a long-respected member of the St. Thomas family and the son of one of the university’s most generous benefactors, I.A. O’Shaughnessy. St. Thomas proudly pays tribute to the O’Shaughnessy family in many forms across campus, including this award. 

Previous winners of the O’Shaughnessy Award are (listed in chronological order): 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, Leontia Flynn and Catherine Phil MacCarthy. 

2015 O’Shaughnessy Award Recipient: Paula Meehan

Poet Paula Meehan of Dublin, Ireland, will receive the 19th annual O’Shaughnessy Award. She is the current holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry funded by the arts councils of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. All are invited to hear Meehan read from her work at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on the university’s St. Paul campus.

Meehan was born in 1955 in Dublin, Ireland, where she still lives today. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. She has received many awards, including the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, the Butler Literary Award for poetry, the Denis Devlin Memorial Award and the PPI Award for Radio drama. She has published five collections of poetry, with the most recent being Dharmakaya (2002) and Painting Rain (2009). She has conducted many residencies in universities, prisons, and in the wider community. Her poems and plays have been translated into many languages, including Irish.