Cnuas members

Photograph of Mary Dorcey

Mary Dorcey

The award winning poet, short story writer and novelist, Mary Dorcey was born in County Dublin, Ireland.

In 1990 she won the Rooney Prize for Literature for her short story collection, A Noise from the Woodshed.

Her best selling novel Biography of Desire (Poolbeg) was published in September of 1997 to critical acclaim and it has been reprinted three times.

She has published six volumes of poetry: Kindling (Only Women Press, 1982), Moving into the Space Cleared by our Mothers (Salmon Poetry, 1991),The River that Carries Me (Salmon Poetry, 1995), and Like Joy in Season, Like Sorrow (Salmon Poetry, 2001).Perhaps the Heart is Constant after All. (Salmon poetry 2012) and most recently her ‘New and Selected Poetry, To Air the Soul, Throw all the Windows Wide.’

In 1990 she published a novella, Scarlet O'Hara, contained in the anthology In and Out of Time (Only Women Press, 1990).

She was awarded five major Literature Bursaries by the Irish Arts Council, in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2005 and, most recently, in 2008.

Her work has been taught since 1990 on Irish Studies and English Literature courses in universities in Europe, the United States, Canada and Ireland. It is discussed and cited in innumerable academic studies. Several theses have been published on her work and countless critical essays. Her poetry is taught on both the Irish Junior Certificate English course and on the British O Level English curriculum.

The BBC chose her poem ‘First Love’ for their anthology ‘A Hundred Favourite Poems of Childhood.’ Her stories and poetry have both been widely anthologised since 1984 and are now included in more than one hundred collections, most notably; The Field Day Anthology; The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction, edited by Colm Tóibín; The Picador Book of Irish Short Stories; The Faber Book of Best Irish Short Stories 07The Virago Book of Short Stories by WomenThe Bloomsbury Book of Women's Poetry; The Cambridge Book of Poetry by Women, etc.

Her short story, A Country Dance, was dramatised for the BBC. Her poetry has been performed on radio and television (RTÉ and Channel 4), and has also been dramatised for the stage in Ireland, Britain and Australia (in In the Pink - The Raving Beauties, and Sunny Side Plucked...)

For twenty years she has been a keynote speaker, giving readings from her work at Arts Festivals and conferences throughout Ireland, Britain, Europe, Canada and the United States. She has lived in the United States, England, France, Spain and Japan.

She is at present a Research Associate at Trinity College Dublin. She was a writer in residence at Trinity College for the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies for many years where she led seminars in contemporary English literature and taught a creative writing course. She also taught creative writing to early school leavers for four years at University College Dublin. The first Irish woman in history to be out and proud, and to advocate for LGBT rights, she is a lifelong activist for gay and women’s rights.

She is now completing a collection of novellas: ’Coming Out to Change the World.’ She now lives in County Wicklow.


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