Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Belfast poet laureate Sinead Morrissey scoops top UK award

TS Eliot Prize winner Sinead Morrissey
TS Eliot Prize winner Sinead Morrissey

Winning the TS Eliot Prize is not a matter of life and death – but a film of that name inspired Belfast's first poet laureate to pen a collection which has won her Britain's most prestigious poetry prize.

Last night the Poetry Book Society (PBS) announced that Dr Sinead Morrissey, previously shortlisted three times, had won the most lucrative award in British poetry for Parallax, a collection exploring the artificiality of art.

Her poem – A Matter Of Life And Death – was inspired by the 1946 film of that name.

The poem captures David Niven, who plays the RAF pilot who bails out of his burning plane in the film, on an escalator on his way to heaven. The film's theme was paralleled by her own experience of a grandmother dying just before her baby was born.

Described as a "dazzling talent" who "wouldn't have appeared out of place among Virginia Woolf's Bloomsbury set" with her "blue-stocking" look, Dr Morrissey (41) was appointed Belfast's inaugural poet laureate last summer.

She is reader in creative writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast and her TS Eliot win is a sign of the depth of talent of Northern Ireland poetry after the death of Heaney – a previous TS Eliot winner – last year.

Its groundbreaking images of Belfast's slums by the Edwardian photographer Alexander Robert Hogg, also provided inspiration.

Ian Duhig, chair of judges, said: "Politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language, her book is as many-angled and any-angled as its title suggests."

Dr Morrissey, who lives in Belfast with her husband and two children, collected the £15,000 prize at a ceremony in the Courtyard of the Wallace Collection in London.

Northern Ireland poet Paul Muldoon is also a previous winner of the prize, which recognises the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland each year.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Sagittarius:

Spending time with family will help relieve stress. It's comforting to be surrounded by those who understand your quirks. In your public life, you feel like you always have to explain yourself to colleagues. This becomes incredibly draining. To add insult to injury, you've had difficulty finding an appropriate job for your level of expertise. Instead of holding out for the perfect opportunity, you should take a low level job that yields regular pay.More