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Victoria Kennefick

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Victoria Kennefick grew up in Cork and lives in Kerry. Her debut collection, Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet Press, 2021), won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize and the Dalkey Book Festival Emerging Writer of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Costa Poetry Book Award, Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry, and the Butler Literary Prize. She was the UCD/Arts Council of Ireland Writer-in-Residence 2023 and Poet-in-Residence at the Yeats Society Sligo 2022-2024. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, New England Review, PN Review, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, and elsewhere.
    'Visceral poems about motherhood are two-a-penny right now. But Kennefick's work doesn't end with an easy applause line, or the invitation to a sisterly high-five... This collection dives into uncomfortable exposure and the reality of raising children. With her partner's gender transition described later in the book, the theme of vulnerability becomes almost unbearably poignant. This is red meat served not just rare but still moving.'

    Graeme Richardson, The Times

    'Visceral bliss'

    Amy Acre, The White Review

    'a miracle of a book: brave, political, telling'

    Paul Perry, Sunday Independent Dublin

    'A debut that approaches its theme via the Irish Famine, Catholicism and Freudian fantasies of cannibalism.'

    Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph Best New Poetry Books 2021

    'Sensuous and sometimes shocking'

    Seán Hewitt, Irish Times Best Books of the Year 2021

    'Kennefick expertly conveys the overwhelmingness of her project, how subjective it is, and how easily, in the process of such an interrogation, the interrogator risks both consuming and being consumed... An assured collection, captivating in its accurate and artful unearthing of taboo'

    Phoebe Walker, Times Literary Supplement

    'A collection of the sensory at times so powerful it may put you off your dinner... Here is poetry of originality'

    Katrina Naomi, The Poetry Review

    'A savage thing, scalding to the touch... It comes at you relentlessly, with a great and gleefully unbridled spiritedness. Handle, and read, with some care.'

    Michael Glover, The Tablet

    'Heralding the arrival of a distinctive and assured voice in Irish poetry, Victoria Kennefick's Eat or We Both Starve is daring, visceral and replete with unsettling images... Few collections arrest a reader with such intensity from the opening poem, and even fewer manage to hold that thrill over the course of many poems, but Kennefick's does... It is a testament to Kennefick's skill that Eat or We Both Starve can balance this intelligence inside poems that are also great fun to read, full of surprising images, formal dexterity, and a voice both consistent and pliable.'

    Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times

    'This audacious debut collection of fleshly poems is the best I've come across so far this year...Rich with imagery and alliteration.'

    Bookish Beck

    'Kennefick is unforgiving when assessing the male gaze or anything that limits her women, any fear that is stoked around the female body and the corporeality of femaleness ... This is a mature collection by a poet who has lived.'

    Liz Quirke, Books Ireland

    Awards won by Victoria Kennefick Commended, 2024 The Poetry Book Society Spring Choice
    (Egg/Shell)
    Winner, 2022 The Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize 2022 (Eat Or We Both Starve) Winner, 2022 The Emerging Writer of the Year in the Dalkey Literary Awards (Eat Or We Both Starve) Short-listed, 2022 The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry
    (Eat Or We Both Starve)
    Short-listed, 2022 The Butler Literary Prize
    (Eat Or We Both Starve)
    Short-listed, 2021 The Costa Poetry Award (Eat Or We Both Starve) Short-listed, 2021 The T.S. Eliot Prize (Eat Or We Both Starve)
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