THE first poetry collection by Cork born writer Victoria Kennefick has been short-listed for the globally recoginsed TS Eliot Prize for Poetry.
‘Eat Or We Both Starve’ is the provocative title of the collection, published by specialist poetry publishing house Carcanet, from the pen of Victoria, now based in Kerry where, among other responsibilities, she is a director of Listowel Writer’s Week.
Victoria holds a doctorate in English from University College Cork and studied at Emory University and Georgia College and State University as part of a Fulbright Scholarship.
Her pamphlet ‘White Whale’ (Southword Editions, 2015), won the Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition and the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Her work has appeared in numerous prestigious literary publicliations.
She won the 2013 Red Line Book Festival Poetry Prize. She was a recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award from the Arts Council of Ireland.
The TS Eliot Prize for Poetry has been termed ‘the prize most poets want to win’ (Sir Andrew Motion, former UK Poet Laureate) and ‘the world’s top poetry award’. It is awarded annually to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland.
The prize is worth £25.000, approximately €30,000 to the winner and£1,500 short listed poets.
Among its previous winners are Derek Walcott, Sinéad Morrissey, Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon and Ciaran Carson. It will be presented in February 2022.
According to the publisher, Victoria Kennefick’s daring first book, Eat or We Both Starve, draws readers into seemingly recognisable set-pieces - the family home, the shared meal, the rituals of historical occasions, desire - but Kennefick forges this material into new shapes, making them viable again for exploring what it is to live with the past - and not to be consumed by it. She writes with a visceral originality. She is able to find beauty in the big subjects like sorrow and desire.