Poet Sinéad Morrissey nominated for top book award in USA
A collection by one of Northern Ireland’s leading poets, Sinéad Morrissey, has been nominated for a top American award by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC).
Described by some as the ‘Oscars of the book trade’, Sinéad’s collection, Parallax and Selected Poems, published in the USA by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has been shortlisted for the poetry prize as one of five nominees in that category. Just thirty writers were shortlisted for 6 awards by the NBCC’s board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications who selected from the best books published in the USA last year.
Expressing her delight and surprise, Sinead Morrissey, Professor in Creative Writing at Queens University Belfast said, "This shortlisting was completely unexpected. My friend Jean Bleakney broke the news to me in a text as she'd read it on social media. I'm delighted for my work to be recognised by the panel of such a distinguished literary prize: just to be on this shortlist is a huge honour in itself."
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature & Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, “Sinéad Morrissey’s shortlisting for the American edition (from Farrar, Straus and Giroux) of her T S Eliot Prize-winning collection Parallax, expanded to include poems from throughout her career, is a tremendous achievement in itself. With the likes of Colm Toibin, Mary Beard and James Wood, her shortlisting is evidence of how this poet’s brilliance is already recognised across the Atlantic. We wish her the best of luck at the prize-giving on St Patrick’s Weekend.”
The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. The awards will be presented on March 17, 2016. Comprising more than 700 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honouring the best books published in the past year in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry.
Sinead has been supported in her career by public funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and she wrote the award-winning Parallax collection with the help of a Major Individual Artist Award in 2012/13. She was also appointed as the first Poet Laureate for the city of Belfast in 2014 by the Arts Council and Belfast City Council.