Irish poet Kerry Hardie to receive ninth O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry; public reading is April 8 at St. Thomas

Irish poet Kerry Hardie of Skeoughvosteen, County Kilkenny, will receive the ninth annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.

Hardie will read from her work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8, in Room 126 (auditorium) of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts 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.

Hardie also will participate in a public conversation with author and publisher Emilie Buchwald, creator of Milkweed Editions’ “World as Home” environmental literature series, on the topic of “Words Into Place/Place Into Words.” The event begins at 7 p.m. Monday, April 4, at the Highland Park Branch Library Auditorium, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul.  

Both events are co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public 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, served on the university’s board of trustees and formerly led the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.   

Hardie was born in Singapore in 1951 and raised in County Down in Northern Ireland. Her poetry collections include A Furious Place (1996); Cry for the Hot Belly (2000); and The Sky Didn’t Fall (2003). All of her poetry collections have been published by Gallery Press of Oldcastle, County Meath.  

Hardie’s verse is distinguished by an intense attention to the natural world, and especially to animals and flowers. Other frequent themes in her poetry are grief, the sense of being an outsider and her longtime battle with myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome. She also has written a novel, A Winter Marriage, published in the United States by Little, Brown in 2002, and a second novel, The Bird Woman, will be published later this year.

The recipient of numerous poetry prizes in Europe, including the Hennessy Award, Hardie studied English at York University and worked for the BBC in Belfast and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in Derry. She lived in Glasgow, Scotland, for five years before moving to Kilkenny in 1979 with her husband, writer and TV producer Sean Hardie.            

Previous winners of the O’Shaughnessy Award are Eavan Boland, John F. Deane, Peter Sirr, Louis de Paor, Moya Cannon, Frank Orsmby, Thomas McCarthy and Michael Coady.  

For more information, please contact Jim Rogers, managing director of the Center for Irish Studies, (651) 962-5662.