Prolific Galway Poet Honoured to receive ‘Living Poets Society Award’

Prolific Galway Poet Honoured to receive ‘Living Poets Society Award’

One of Ireland's best known poets, Rita Ann Higgins was honored at the Power of Words Festival in Abbeyleix on Sunday, where she was presented with the ‘Living Poets Society Award’ for 2021.

The renowned Galway poet has garnered a widespread audience over the last couple of years thanks to her pandemic poems, which featured regularly on the Brendan O’Connor show on RTÉ Radio 1.

After receiving the award at the event that also celebrated her work, Rita Ann said; "to be honoured in this way is deeply humbling. It is a joyous occasion in these contrary and befuddling times. The award has lifted my spirits."

Galway Poet

Rita Ann was born in 1955 in Galway, where she still lives, as one of 13 children. She left school at the age of 14 and was in her late 20s before she started writing poetry. She has since published 11 books of poetry, a memoir (Hurting God) and a book of essays and poems (Our Killer City). She has written several plays and two screenplays. Her latest collection is called Pathogens Love a Patsy, Pandemic and Other Poems.

Higgins is the recipient of numerous awards and bursaries and was Galway County’s Writer-in-Residence in 1987, Writer in Residence at NUIG 1994–95, Writer in Residence for Offaly County Council 1998–99. She was Green Honors Professor at Texas Christian University in October 2000. Other awards include a Peadar O’Donnell Award in 1989, several Arts Council bursaries and Sunny Side Plucked was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She was made an honorary fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University November 2006. She also participated in prison workshops in Ireland and UK and did voluntary work at promoting positive mental health. She is a member of Aosdána.