(1974 - Present)
Northern Irish poet Leontia Flynn has been described by John McAuliffe as “a poet who is not only one of the best writers of her generation but who seems, more and more, to be the voice of that generation.” Born in County Down, Flynn earned an MA at Edinburgh University and a PhD in English at Queen’s University Belfast, for which she wrote on the poetry of Medbh McGuckian.
Flynn’s debut poetry book, These Days (2004), won the Eric Gregory Award in manuscript. On publication, it earned her the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Award and the Costa Prize. Her subsequent collections are Drives (2008); Profit and Loss (2011), a Poetry Book Society choice and T. S. Eliot Prize shortlisted book; and The Radio (2017), winner of the Irish Times’ Poetry Now Award and another T. S. Eliot Prize shortlistee. Her poetry—witty, meditative, and lyrical—explores disparate themes including family and motherhood, technology and the internet, and the ways ordinary life can be reconceived as extraordinary.
Flynn’s further accolades include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2008, the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Prize for Irish Literature in 2011, the Ireland Fund's AWB Vincent Literary Award in 2014, and an Individual Artists Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In 2004, she was named one of twenty “Next Generation Poets” by the Poetry Book Society. She is also the author of the academic monograph Reading Medbh McGuckian (2014), in which she interprets McGuckian’s poetry through the lens of feminist and post-structuralist theory.
Flynn teaches at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, a role she has held since 2005. She lives in Belfast with her daughter.
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Photo by Matthew Thompson.