Caitríona O’Reilly wins ‘Irish Times’ Poetry Now award

Poet’s collection ‘Geis’ was described as ‘intense and intelligent’ by this year’s judges

The winner of this year’s Irish Times Poetry Now award is Caitríona O’Reilly for Geis, published by Bloodaxe Books.

The award will be presented to the poet at the dlr Poetry Now festival in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin on Saturday, March 12th as part of the Mountains to Sea festival.

Ms O'Reilly's third collection had been shortlisted with four other books of poetry published in 2015: John F Deane's Semibreve (Carcanet Press); Medbh McGuckian's Blaris Moore (Gallery Books); Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin's The Boys of Bluehill (Gallery Books) and Doireann Ní Ghríofa's Clasp (Dedalus Press).

O’Reilly was born in Dublin and now lives in Lincoln. She has previously been on the shortlist for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award: in 2007 for her second collection, The Sea Cabinet.


Her debut collection, The Nowhere Birds, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.

The judges noted that “Geis is an outstanding achievement. It is intense, intelligent and finely-crafted poetry which is both self-examining and dazzled . . . by the word and the world’s beauty. It is contemporary Irish poetry at its finest.”

Previous winners

This is the 11th year of the €2,000 annual prize, which has previously been won by several of the country's major poets including Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Harry Clifton, Sinéad Morrissey, Dennis O'Driscoll and Theo Dorgan who won last year for his collection, Nine Bright Shiners.

The judges for this year's prize were: novelist Lia Mills, whose novel Fallen is next month's One City One Book choice for Dublin and Belfast; Colin Graham, a lecturer in Maynooth University and co-editor of the Irish Review; and this writer.

The Poetry Now festival is part of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s Mountains-to-Sea literary festival which continues over the weekend. Saturday’s presentation is at 12.30pm in the dlrLexicon and is open to the public.