Sean O'Brien (writer)

Sean O'Brien (writer)

since 1990. He was appointed the Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1992.

On 22 March 2007, he became the sixth winner of the Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award. This prize is worth £20,000 a year for a period of three years.

In 2006, he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University [cite web
title=Staff - University of Newcastle upon Tyne
publisher=School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University
] in the north-east of England. He was previously Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a Vice-President of the Poetry Society. [ [ The Poetry Society (Home Page) ] ] He was co-founder of the literary magazine "The Printer's Devil" and contributes reviews to newspapers and magazines including "The Sunday Times" and "The Times Literary Supplement".

His five collections of poetry to date have all won awards, most recently "Downriver" (Picador, 2001), which won the 2001 Forward Prize for Best Collection. "Cousin Coat: Selected Poems 1976-2001" (Picador) was published in 2002. His book of essays on contemporary poetry, "The Deregulated Muse" (Bloodaxe), was published in 1998, as was his anthology "The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945" (Picador). Sean O'Brien's new verse version of Dante's "Inferno" was published by Picador in October 2006.

O'Brien was Chair of Judges for the Poetry Book Society's T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2006 (won by Seamus Heaney). [ [ The Poetry Book Society, the book club for poetry lovers: About Us ] ] In 2007, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He is a regular broadcaster on radio. The programme "The Flavours of Childhood" in the BBC Radio 4 series "First Taste", for which he wrote and read one part and novelist Joanne Harris the other, won the 2006 Glenfiddich Food and Drink Broadcast Award. His writing for television includes "Cousin Coat", a poem-film in "Wordworks" (Tyne Tees Television, 1991); "Cantona", a poem-film in "On the Line" (BBC2, 1994); "Strong Language", a 45-minute poem-film (Channel 4, 1997) and "The Poet Who Left the Page", a profile of Simon Armitage (BBC4, 2002).



* 1983: "The Indoor Park" (Bloodaxe)
* 1987: "The Frighteners" (Bloodaxe)
* 1989: "Boundary Beach " (Ulsterman Publications)
* 1991: "HMS Glasshouse" (Oxford University Press)
* 1993: "A Rarity" (Carnivorous Arpeggio)
* 1995: "Ghost Train" (Oxford University Press)
* 1995: "Penguin Modern Poets 5" (with Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison) (Penguin)
* 1997: "The Ideology" (Smith/Doorstep)
* 2001: "Downriver" (Picador)
* 2002: "Cousin Coat: Selected Poems 1976-2001 " (Picador)
* 2002: "Rivers" (with John Kinsella and Peter Porter) (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Australia)
* 2006: "Inferno: a verse version of Dante's Inferno" (Picador)
* 2007: "The Drowned Book" (Picador)


*"The Birds: a new verse version of Aristophanes' Birds" (Methuen, 2002)
*"Keepers of the Flame" (Methuen, 2003)
*"Live Theatre: Six Plays from the North East" (with Cecil Taylor, Tom Hadaway, Alan Plater, Lee Hall, Julia Darling) (Methuen, 2003)

hort stories

* 2005: "Elipsis 1: Short Stories by Sean O'Brien, Jean Sprackland and Tim Cooke" (Comma Press)
* 2005: "Phantoms at the Phil" (with Chaz Brenchley and Gail-Nina Anderson) (Side Real/Northern Gothic)
* 2006: "Phantoms at the Phil- The Second Proceedings" (with Chaz Brenchley and Gail-Nina Anderson) (Side Real/Northern Gothic)
* 2007: "Phantoms at the Phil- The Third Proceedings" (with Chaz Brenchley and Gail-Nina Anderson) (Side Real/Northern Gothic)

Literary criticism

* 1998: "The Deregulated Muse: Essays on Contemporary British and Irish Poetry" (Bloodaxe)
* 2003: "World Writers in English" (contributor) (Charles Scribner’s Sons)


* 1998: "The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945" (editor) (Picador)
* 2008: "Andrew Marvell: poems selected by Sean O'Brien" (Poet to Poet series, Faber and Faber)


*1979 - Eric Gregory Award
*1984 - Somerset Maugham Award – "The Indoor Park"
*1988 - Cholmondeley Award
*1993 - E. M. Forster Award [ [ American Academy of Arts and Letters - Home ] ]
*1995 - Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) – "Ghost Train" [ [ Forward Arts Foundation ] ]
*2001 - Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) – "Downriver"
*2001 - Northern Writer of the Year Award
*2001 - T. S. Eliot Prize (shortlist) – "Downriver"
*2006 - Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem for "Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright")
*2007 - Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award [cite web
title=The Northern Rock Foundation Writer's Award 2007
publisher=The Northern Rock Foundation
*2007 - Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection) – "The Drowned Book"
*2007 - T. S. Eliot Prize – "The Drowned Book" [ [ BBC News: "O'Brien honoured with poetry win"] .]


*"The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry" ed. Ian Hamilton (OUP, 1996)
*"The Idea of North" Peter Davidson (Reaktion Books, 2005)
*"Who’s Who" A & C Black, 2006
*Sean O'Brien at
*Sean O'Brien at


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