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The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s announce Ned Denny as the 2019 Poetry Prize winner

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast today (Tuesday 2 July) announced, ‘Unearthly Toys: Poems and Masks’, by Ned Denny as the winner of the First Collection Poetry Prize 2019.

Ned Denny

The award is supported by Glucksman Ireland HouseNew York University and The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The prize was announced by Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, during an evening reception at No Alibis Bookstore on Botanic Avenue, Belfast.

The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000 and is invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. For this they receive travel, accommodation, and a $1,000 honorarium.

This year’s judging panel included Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Edna Longley, critic and Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University Belfast; and Dr Stephen Sexton, poet and lecturer at the Seamus Heaney Centre.

Speaking about the winning collection Professor Laird said: “Ned Denny’s book is a terrific and complex hybrid of the ancient and modern, shot through with flashes of surrealism and wit. It’s also deeply felt, earnest, and concerned with the large questions of being alive, of loving, of trying to exist in a secular world separated from nature.”

The shortlist for the First Collection Poetry Prize 2019 included:

  • Jinx, by Abigail Parry (Bloodaxe Books, 2018)
  • Unearthly Toys: Poems and Masks, by Ned Denny (Carcanet, 2018)
  • Shrines of Upper Austria, by Phoebe Power (Carcanet, 2018)
  • Three Poems, by Hannah Sullivan (Faber & Faber, 2018)
  • The Distal Point, by Fiona Moore (Happenstance Press, 2018)
  • GALL, Matt Howard (The Rialto, 2018)

Ned Denny will read at Glucksman Ireland House, and at New York City's Irish Art Centre's annual Poetryfest in November 2019.




Media enquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen’s Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 3259 or email: