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Photograph of Philip  Casey

Philip Casey

Born in London in 1950 to Irish parents, he grew up in Co. Wexford, which features in much of his work. In 1986 he was the recipient of an Arts Council literature bursary. He has published four collections of poetry: Those Distant Summers (1980), After Thunder (1985), and The Year of the Knife: Poems 1980-1990 (1991), all by Raven Arts Press; and Dialogue in Fading Light - New & Selected Poems (New Island Books, 2005). A one-act play, Cardinal, was performed in Hamburg in 1990.

His novels are The Fabulists (Lilliput, 1995), The Water Star (Picador, 1999) and The Fisher Child (Picador, 2001). The Fabulists won the inaugural Kerry Ingredients Book of the Year Award at Listowel Writers' Week in 1995, and was translated into German in 1999. He founded and maintains the Irish Writers Online and A Guide to Irish Culture (www.irishcultureguide.com) websites. In 2014 he founded his own literary label eMaker Editions to publish his back list and all future publications. The Fabulists was translated into Japanese by Noriko Ito and published by eMaker Editions. He has also published Tried and Sentenced, his Selected poems, and a novel for children 9+, The Coupla.  For further information visit: www.philipcasey.com

 Aosdána mourns the death of Philip Casey - 5th February 2018

The news of Philip Casey’s death was received with great sadness by fellow members of Aosdána among whom he inspired not only high regard for his work as poet and novelist, but deep admiration for a life of courageous resilience. Rather than weakening his creative and artistic powers, the disability that tested his endurance added strength and insight to those powers and intensified his perceptions: he had an observant eye, keen ear, unquenchable curiosity as well as a rigorous intelligence and sureness of pitch in the composure of his language.

In one poem he records hearing the sound of the “torn sonata of distress” as a young man in hospital – a formative experience that drove him toward the profound understanding of compassion and humanity that is evident in his work. His writing – a distilled language in both the poetry and fiction – was always vivid and technically subtle. The same sensibilities and powers of expression that give his poems their distinction are also there in his remarkable trio of novels, The Fabulists, The Water Star and The Fisher Child. While the Wexford of his childhood was, as he said, the place that “sank a deep well in my imagination”, he was European in outlook – the topography of his poems and novels included Spain and Germany. Although born in London and raised in Wexford, he made his home adjacent to Anna Livia and there he created and sent out into the world his Irish Writers Online, an abundant archive of information for which so many of his Aosdána colleagues are grateful.

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