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Jackie Kay

Credit : Denise Else

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She is the author of—among other books—The Adoption Papers, which won the Forward Prize, Red Dust Road, winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, Trumpet, and the Costa-shortlisted Fiere. She was the third Makar, or National Poet for Scotland (2016-2021). She is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Salford.

Adam Wyeth

Credit : Karina Bénazech Wendling

Adam Wyeth lives in Dublin and is an award-winning poet, playwright and essayist with five books published with leading Irish literary publisher Salmon Press. In recent years, Wyeth has worked across various genres and disciplines collaborating with a range of artists, including composers, musicians, performers, film-makers and animators.

Over the years, Wyeth’s poetry has won and been commended in many international competitions, including The Bridport Poetry Prize, The Arvon Poetry Prize and The Ballymaloe Poetry Prize. His work appears in several anthologies including The Forward Prize Anthology (2012 Faber), The Best of Irish Poetry (Southword 2010) and The Arvon 25th Anniversary Anthology. In 2016, Wyeth was selected for Poetry Ireland Review’s Rising Generation of Irish Poets.

Wyeth’s critically acclaimed debut collection, Silent Music (2011) was Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. Reviewing his collection for The Stinging Fly, Ailbhe Darcy wrote: ‘Adam Wyeth is a poet of ideas exquisitely wrought and swarming, demanding a reader awake to complexity on a subtle scale. Silent Music is a debut of astonishing assurance.’

Since the publication of his second book, The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry (2013) – which contains poems from Ireland’s leading poets followed by sharp essays that unpack each poem and explore its Celtic mythological references – much of Wyeth’s work has been concerned with mythology and depth psychology. This book is used as a teaching tool around the world and has been officially added to DeSales University (Pennsylvania) MFA program in Creative Writing and DePaul University classes in Chicago – Books for Celtic Mythology and Books for Contemporary Celtic Literature. Seamus Heaney has praised Wyeth as ‘A gifted commentator/ close reader. A hearer and a heartener.’

Wyeth’s third book and second poetry collection The Art of Dying was published with Salmon in November 2016 and was named as an Irish Times Book of the Year.

Wyeth’s playwriting has seen him move to an increasingly more modernist and experimental arena. His plays have had several professional productions in Ireland, Berlin and New York. Wyeth’s first two plays Hang Up and Lifedeath were produced by Brokencrow in 2013, the second of which was selected as the play of the Triskel Festival by the Irish Examiner. In 2014 he adapted his debut play Hang Up directed by Gavin McEntee for screen with director Enrique Carnicero, which premiered at Cork International Film Festival. In 2019 Salmon Drama published his play This Is What Happened which is prefaced with an essay called “The Sacred Well” about Wyeth’s writing process. In the essay Wyeth equates his writing process to ‘throwing toys out of the cot and then trying to assemble them into some semblance of order.’ He continues, ‘I very seldom plan anything I write, on the occasions when I have, the writing tends to flag, lacking substance and vigour, and my interest soon wanes. For me writing is all about finding a flow. there is a movement and excitement to the language, which drives me on.’ From 2018-2024, Wyeth served as an Associate Artist of the Civic theatre, Dublin, and in 2019 he became a member of Modernist Studies Ireland.

As a freelance writer, Wyeth teaches and works for several organisations including holding a regular position at The Irish Writers Centre Dublin and fishpublishing.com. Wyeth also runs a range of online courses and one-to-one mentoring programmes for writers via his website.

Wyeth’s fifth book, about:blank is a four-part poetical sequence set in Dublin, moving across narrative poetry, monologues and dialogue. The work has also been produced as an audio-immersive performance, and premiered at the Dublin Theatre Festival 2021, performed by Irish theatre acting legends Olwen Fouere, Owen Roe and Paula McGlinchey. (Funded by the Arts Council, Abbey Theatre and Poetry Ireland. Developed with the assistance of the Abbey Theatre/Amharclann na Mainistreach. Supported by Civic Theatre, Mermaid Arts Centre, MOLI and Riverbank Arts Centre. This audio work can also be made available for festivals and venues.)

In June 2021 Wyeth was a recipient of the Live Music & Performance Scheme for a new music and text work, there will be no silence, in collaboration with Emmy-nominated composer David Downes. Featuring world-renowned pianist Rolf Hind and virtuoso cellist Adrian Mantu, performed by celebrated actors, Aisling O’Sullivan and Owen Roe. In April 2024 there will be no silence premiered at The National Concert Hall as part of the New Music Festival, Dublin. there will be no silence has been released with diatribe records as CD with booklet of text, and is available to download on all major streaming services. Since 2023 Wyeth has been working on a feature length adaptation of about:blank using AI animation film with JAM animator Tiago Gil Batista.

Wyeth has held various accessible talks and papers around his interest in Irish mythology and depth psychology, including Depth Literature: Irish Myth and Modernism, published in 2021. In 2024, Wyeth was the keynote speaker for the prestigious SAES Conference in Nancy, France.

Wyeth’s latest book will be a mythopoetic memoir called In Circles. The form of In Circles is a blend of novelistic storytelling, poetic prose, and philosophical exploration. It combines traditional narrative elements with experimental structures, including circular motifs, recurring symbols, and intertextual references. The use of different narrative voices and perspectives adds layers to the storytelling, inviting readers to engage with the text on multiple levels.

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