Unpublished Poet Awarded
Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize
By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
December / January 2015
The literary world welcomed a new talent in September when the prestigious Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award was given to UCC librarian John Fitzgerald. A virtual unknown, having no previous publications, Fitzgerald was quoted in the Irish Times as saying, “I wasn’t into publishing anything, mainly because I did not think it was up to standard.”
All that changed when his first collection of poems, Leaving My Husband, was released. Since his win, Fitzgerald’s book has been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award 2015.
Fitzgerald, who hails from Lissarda, Co. Cork, only started writing poetry four years ago. A graduate of UCC he had previously worked as a librarian for Trinity College, Dublin before starting at UCC in 1996. As he noted, “it’s very good to have the day job and to be working in an environment which is hospitable to literature.” He cites Elizabeth Bishop as an early influence and credits his schooling days at De La Salle College in Macroom as a place he said, “developed my love of literature.”