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Mary O'Malley Named Joint Winner of Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2018

Thursday, 5 Apr 2018

No Text We're really proud and excited to announce that Mary O'Malley has been named as joint winner of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2018 with Macdara Woods! We published Mary's Playing the Octopus in 2016 and are delighted to see it getting the attention it deserves. Huge congratulations to both these deserving winners!

Mary and Macdara will receive their award on Thursday 12 April 2018, the opening night of the literary and arts festival, Éigse Michael Hartnett and will share the €4,000 purse that goes with the award.

The judges in their citation described Mary O’Malley’s Playing the Octopus as: “a beautiful collection of rare gems that sparkle and seduce. Through the finely wrought, delicately woven poems, Mary has created a world that sustains us, that we recognise and can inhabit, and the poet acts as an assured guide.”

“This is a collection that balances beauty and harmony, the poems are restrained but deeply felt, the voice assured, meaning is revealed slowly like an uncovering of essence, something essential and elemental.”

“There is a playfulness and joy in language that at times produces a magical quality: light bounces and refracts; musical intonations interweave with the lyric voice. What is achieved is a virtuoso performance.”

Upon hearing that she was joint winner of the 2018 award, Mary O’Malley said: “I am delighted to receive the Michael Hartnett Award. Michael, whom I knew and who had kind things to say about my young poems, has remained a touchstone for me.”

“When I first met him, at the launch of a small anthology to raise funds for the Simon Community, he was kind, generous and had, in abundance, that 'uaslacht' of which I later heard him speak. Over the years, I got to know him better. He used to call me 'an Atlantean', which gave him a quiet amusement.”

“I used to wait for each book of Michael's as I have never waited for any poet's, before or since. His work was, quite simply, essential and so he remains. His stature grows, and will, I think, continue to do so. He was a poet deeply schooled and this gave his poems a quiet authority.”

Sheila Deegan, Culture and Arts Officer with Limerick City and County Council said: “I would like to congratulate the joint winners of this year’s poetry award. Poetry has the power to transport the reader into another world, and these winners have that ability. They are deserved winners and join a long list of some of the powerhouses of Irish literature.”

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