Tuesday 23 July 2019

Prize-winning poet tells how love changed her life

IT'S a long way from "the stony grey soil" of Monaghan that inspired Patrick Kavanagh's poetry to the lush landscapes of New Zealand.

But that's where the winner of this year's Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize lives.

Caoilinn Hughes (27), from Claregalway in Co Galway, has always loved poetry.

She did a master's degree in theatre studies in Queen's University, Belfast, and while she was there she signed up to do a marathon in Auckland, in New Zealand.

That's where love changed her life -- love of New Zealand and love of a man she met while running the marathon.

"After 10km, I had fallen in love with the country; after 20, I'd fallen in love with a redheaded English physicist who was running as well," Caoilinn said. She settled in Auckland before later moving to Wellington.

This year's judge was poet and novelist Brian Lynch.

"Caoilinn Hughes is one of the cleverest, wittiest and most heartfelt young poets I have ever come across," Mr Lynch said.

The Kavanagh Prize is given for a collection of 20 poems by a poet who has not yet published a book.

The award and €1,000 prize was presented to Caoilinn at the Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, yesterday.

Irish Independent

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