Poetry Prize 2022
We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2022 Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize for a First Collection, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies. The winner will be announced during the Seamus Heaney Centre’s annual Poetry Summer School, at the Award Night readings in June 2022.
“The Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize is a highlight of the Seamus Heaney Centre’s year, and this year we saw a wonderful range and variety of debuts. We were impressed by the imagination and daring of the shortlisted books, and look forward to what the shortlisted writers do next.”
- Nick Laird, Seamus Heaney Professor of Poetry at Queen's, and judge of the Poetry Prize
The Seamus Heaney Chair of Poetry Nick Laird, is joined this year by our colleague Stephen Sexton, and poet Jessica Traynor.
Jessica Traynor is a poet, essayist and librettist. Her debut poetry collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award and in 2016 was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Bustle.com. The Quick was a 2019 Irish Times poetry choice. Awards include the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary and Hennessy New Writer of the Year. Paper Boat, a new opera commission from Irish National Opera, will premiere in 2022. Slapped Actor, a book of essays, has been listed for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Award in 2021. Residencies in 2021-22 include the Yeats Society Sligo, The Seamus Heaney Home Place and the DLR LexIcon. She is a Creative Fellow of UCD. Her third collection, Pit Lullabies, was published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2022, and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
Nick Laird is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, and critic from Northern Ireland. He is the author of four poetry collections, including Feel Free (2019) and Go Giants (2013), and the children's book Weirdo (2021), written in collaboration with his wife Zadie Smith. He teaches at New York University and is the Seamus Heaeny Chair of Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s. He lives in London and New York.
Stephen Sexton is a poet and educator from Northern Ireland. His debut collection If All the World and Love Were Young (Penguin, 2019) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His pamphlet, Oils (Emma Press, 2014) was the Poetry Book Society’s Winter Pamphlet Choice of that year. He has won numerous awards including the UK National Poetry Competition, and an Eric Gregory Award. Stephen is a lecturer in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s.