Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts

Staff Profile

Professor Sinead Morrissey

Professor of Creative Writing


Role in the School

I am a Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and contribute in particular to the delivery of the postgraduate curriculum in Creative Writing.

Educational Background

BA Hons. German and English: Trinity College, Dublin

PhD “Servants in British Fictions of the 1790s”, Trinity College, Dublin

PGCHET, Queen’s University, Belfast

Professional Affiliations

MHEA Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

AHRC Peer Review College (2017-2020)

FRSL Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (elected 2019)


Poetry Awards 

The European Poet of Freedom Award (2020)

The Forward Prize for Best Collection (2017) 

E M Forster Award (The American Academy of Arts and Letters, 2016) 

National Book Circle Critics’ Award for Poetry (finalist, 2016)  

Inaugural Belfast Poet Laureate (2013-2014) 

T S Eliot Prize (2013) 

Irish Times/Poetry Now Award (2013) 

Major Individual Artist Award (Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 2012) 

Irish Times/Poetry Now Award (2009) 

Lannan Literary Fellowship (USA, 2007) 

UK National Poetry Competition (First Prize, 2007) 

The Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize (2005) 

The Rupert and Eithne Strong Award (2002) 

The MacAulay Fellowship (Arts Council of Ireland, 2002) 

Eric Gregory Award (1996) 

The Patrick Kavanagh Award (1990) 


As the author of six poetry collections, my area of research expertise lies in contemporary poetics. I am interested in examining, through the vehicle of individual poems and across collections as a whole, ideas relating to voice, history, visual media (photography and early cinema) and politics, with a particular interest in Russia and the Soviet Experiment (1917-1991). Throughout my work I employ a wide range of approaches and styles; I am fascinated by the dynamic interplay of meaning and shape, content and form, and the articulacy of structure itself.

I have participated in a number of interdisciplinary collaborations, including Up by the Roots with composer Piers Hellawell (released by Delphian on CD in 2019) and Gone Westering with Shetland fiddler and composer Catriona Macdonald, performed as part of the Newcastle Poetry Festival in 2019. I have written the libretto for Smithereens, a dramatic work for children and young people comissioned by Northern Ireland Opera and scheduled for production later this year.

I am currently writing a book of lyric essays about the collapse of Communism, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.



  • There Was Fire in Vancouver (Carcanet, 1996)
  • Between Here and There (Carcanet, 2002)
  • The State of the Prisons (Carcanet, 2005)
  • Through the Square Window (Carcanet, 2009)
  • Parallax (Carcanet, 2013)
  • On Balance (Carcanet, 2017)


  • Parallax and Selected Poems (Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2015)
  • Found Architecture: Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2020)

ANTHOLOGIES (as co-editor)

  • The Future Always Makes me so Thirsty: New Poets from the North of Ireland (Blackstaff Press, 2016)


  • Up by the Roots: a music/poetry collaboration with composer Piers Hellawell (Edition Peters, 2016).

In addition I have published individual poems widely in national and international poetry  journals including Poetry (Chicago), Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, as well as having poems featured in the Guardian, the Irish Times and the New Statesman. My work has also been broadly anthologised.


In my capacity as NCLA Director at Newcastle I have overseen the following projects:

  • Finding a Voice: Poetry in Prison (funded by the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal)
  • Newcastle Poetry Festival 2018, 2019 (funded by Arts Council England)
  • Inside Writing, 2020 (funded by the Catherine Cookson Foundation)

I am currently working on the following project:

  • In Person: Bloodaxe Books (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust)

In February 2021 I will take up a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for two years in order to write a collection of lyric essays entitled "Seeing Red: An Anatomy of an Irish Communist Childhood" on Communism and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. 


I have been teaching creative writing for fifteen years with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on poetry. I have taught at all levels of the curriculum and to date have supervised six PhD Creative Writing Poetry students to completion. At Newcastle I will be working primarily with MA poetry students as well as undertaking PhD supervision in Creative Writing (Poetry).


  • Morrissey S. On Balance. Manchester, England: Carcanet Press, 2017.
  • Macdonald C, Morrissey S. Gone Westering. . Newcastle upon Tyne: Newcastle Poetry Festival, 2019.