Professor Sean O'Brien
Professor of Creative Writing

Background

Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, anthologist, broadcaster, novelist and editor. He grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has published seven collections of poetry to date, including Downriver (2007) and November (2011). His Collected Poems was published in 2012. A Chinese and English parallel text edition of new and selected poems, The River Road, was published in Beijing in 2014.

His book of essays on contemporary poetry, The Deregulated Muse, was published in 1998, as was his acclaimed anthology The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945. His Newcastle Bloodaxe Poetry lectures were published as Journey to the Interior: Ideas of England in Contemporary Poetry (2012). He has edited a selection from Andrew Marvell (2011) and, with Don Paterson, The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems of Peter Porter (2010), and Train Songs: Poetry of the Railways (2013).

His collection of short stories, The Silence Room, appeared in 2008 and his novel, Afterlife, in 2009. He has translated Dante's Inferno and the poems of Corsino Fortes. His plays include The Birds, Laughter When We're Dead, and Keepers of the Flame. His translation of Tirso de Molina's Spanish Golden Age comedy Don Gil of the Green Breeches was staged in Bath in 2013, and in London and Coventry in 2014.

He contributes to the Guardian, The Independent and the Times Literary Supplement. Radio work includes versions of Zamyatin's We, Greene's The Ministry of Fear and a Radio 4 documentary on Ted Lewis, the author of Get Carter

Current projects include a new book of poems, a second novel and a second collection of short stories. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. 

Previous Positions

Lecturer and then Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University (1998-2006)

Honours and Awards 

2012 - shortlisted for Griffin International  Poetry Award, the T.S.Eliot, Forward and

            Costa Poetry Prizes (November)

2009 - Novi Sad International Writer's Award 

2007 - T.S.Eliot Prize (The Drowned Book

2007 - Forward Prize for best collection (The Drowned Book)

2007 - Northern Rock Writer's Award 

2006 - Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem - 'Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright')

2001 – Forward Prize for Best Collection (Downriver)

2001 – Northern Writer of the Year (Northern Arts; administered by New Writing North)

1995 - Forward Prize for Best Collection (Ghost Train)

1993 - E.M. Forster Award (American Academy of Arts and Letters)

1992 - Arts Council Writer’s Bursary

1988 - Cholmondeley Award

1984 - Somerset Maugham Award

1979 - Gregory Award