Medbh McGuckian regularly lectures on the international summer school and pre-semester programmes at the Institute. She was born in Belfast and educated at Dominican College, Fortwilliam and received her BA, MA, Dip. Ed. and Teacher's Certificate from Queen's University, Belfast. She then went on to become a teacher and began writing poetry while working at St. Patrick's College, Knock. In 1979 she won the National Poetry competition with 'The Flitting'.
Later she published two pamphlets, Single Ladies and Portrait of Joanna, and had work published in the best English and American periodicals. In 1982 she won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award in England and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in Dublin for her volume of poetry, The Flower Master. In that same year she received a major bursary from the Northern Ireland Arts Council for her poetry and in 1984, her second book, Venus and the Rain was published. It was 'a product of the early years of bringing up children' and focused on the effect having children has on a woman. In January 1986, she took up the post of Writer-In-Residence in the English Department of Queen's University. She has attended poetry festivals and conferences in Yugoslavia and Canada and given readings in Ireland, England, America, France and Holland. Her more recent publications include On Ballycastle Beach (1988), Marconi's Cottage (1992) and Captain Lavender (1994). She runs a course on creative writing at Queen's University. Her poems deal with the complex issues of being a woman and living in Northern Ireland.