Local author and historian Michael Whelan MA has been awarded ‘Joint Second’ place in the prestigious Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award for his collection of poems titled Against the Black Sky, We Listen: An Irish Peacekeepers Poems, inspired by his experiences while serving as a Peacekeeper in South Lebanon and Kosovo with the Irish Defence Forces.
The late Patrick Kavanagh, regarded as one of the foremost Irish poets of the 20th century, is known for such works as the epic poem, “The Great Hunger” (1942), and the classic novel Tarry Flynn (1948). Named in his honor, the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award is bestowed upon a poet born in Ireland, of Irish nationality or a long term resident of Ireland. Poet, playwright, screenwriter, art critic and novelist Brian Lynch served as the adjudicator of the Kavanagh Award this year.
The Kavanagh Award has recognized many artists who have gone on to great success as poets and authors. Previous winners include Harry Clifton, the current Ireland Chair of Poetry; Eileán Ni Chuilleanáin, this year’s International Griffin Poetry Prize winner; Paul Durcan, the Whitbread Poetry Award and Irish American Cultural Institute Poetry Award recipient; Joe Woods, the Director of Poetry Ireland; and Sinead Morrissey, a Lannan Literary Fellowship winner.
Michael is also the author of two works of non-fiction, The Battle of Jadotville and Allegiances Compromised , both published by South Dublin Libraries.