Top Irish poetry prize for Costa nominee Kate Miller

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A poet with a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London has been awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection – the seventh annual award from Queen’s University Belfast.

Kate Miller -

Kate Miller, a graduate of the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, was named winner of the £5,000 prize on Thursday 30 June, for her poetry collection The Observances.

The prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best first collection published in the UK or Ireland in the preceding year and is awarded with support from Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.

Chair of judges for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize was Dr Leontia Flynn, alongside Dr Paul Batchelor and Dr Catriona O’Reilly.

They said: “This was a strong shortlist of first poetry collections, each with a very distinctive style, project and outlook. Ultimately, the judges decided unanimously on a book where the quiet but intense sensibility of the author is integral to her poetic endeavour.”

The Observances is an ambitious and unusual debut, with an assurance and an authority that poets more often find (if they find it at all) later in their careers.

"But there is nothing ‘settled’ here in the pejorative sense of that word: in fact the poems are often on the move, traveling through experience, tracing the processes by which life comes into being and passes away, eyes open for the illuminating image, ears attuned to subtleties of tone and register."

English poet Kate grew up in Hampshire and now lives in London. In 2012 she completed her PhD while teaching poetry (modern and historical) at Goldsmiths.

The Observances was published by Oxford Poets (Carcanet) in April 2015 and was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award for Poetry 2015.

Kate will now be invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House at the annual Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry.