Anne Enright is an Irish author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her novel The Gathering won the 2008 Man Booker Prize which was followed by the Irish Novel of the Year award in 2008. In 2011 her novel The Forgotten Waltz won the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
Medbh McGuckian was born in 1950 to Catholic parents in Belfast, Ireland. She studied with Seamus Heaney at Queen’s University, earning a BA and MA, and later returned as the university’s first female writer-in-residence.
McGuckian’s poems are layered collages of feminine and domestic imagery complicated by a liminal, active syntax that, in drawing attention to the weight of one phrase on another, emphasizes and questions our constructions of power and gender. Her work is reminiscent of Rainer Maria Rilke in its emotional scope and John Ashbery in its creation of rich interior landscapes. Praising McGuckian’s Selected Poems (1997), Seamus Heaney said, “Her language is like the inner lining of consciousness, the inner lining of English itself, and it moves amphibiously between the dreamlife and her actual domestic and historical experience as a woman in late-20th-century Ireland.”
McGuckian has earned significant critical acclaim over the course of her career. Her poem “The Flitting,” published under a male pseudonym, won the 1979 National Poetry Competition. In 1980 McGuckian published two chapbooks of poetry and also won the prestigious Eric Gregory Award. Her first collection, The Flower Master (1982), won the Poetry Society’s Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and an award from the Ireland Arts Council. On Ballycastle Beach (1988) won the Cheltenham Award, and The Currach Requires No Harbours (2007) was short-listed for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.
Her honors also include the Bass Ireland Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award, and the American Ireland Fund’s Literary Award. She won the Forward Prize for Best Poem for “She Is in the Past, She Has This Grace.”
Mary Morrissy was born in Dublin where she still lives. She has published a collection of short stories, A Lazy Eye (1993), and two novels inspired by true events: Mother of Pearl (1995), the story of a stolen infant, and The Pretender, a fictional history of the Polish woman who claimed to be Anastasia, daughter of the last Romanov Tsar. Morrissy has taught in creative writing programmes at the Universities of Arkansas and Iowa in the US as well as in Trinity College, Dublin. A third novel, based on the life of Bella O'Casey, sister of the famous Irish playwright, is under way.