Born in Belfast in 1948, Ciaran Carson studied at Queen’s University and served as literature officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
His poetry collections have won numerous awards: The New Estate won the Eric Gregory Award in 1978; The Irish for No won the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award in 1987; in 1989, Belfast Confetti won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Award for Irish Poetry, the Ewart-Biggs Prize, the Irish Book Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize; in 1993, First Language won the inaugural T.S. Eliot Prize; and Opera Et Cetera (1996) was a Poetry Book Society Choice.
In 1998 he published The Alexandrine Plan, adaptations of sonnets by Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Rimbaud. Two collections, The Twelfth of Never and The Ballad of HMS Belfast, were published simultaneously in 1999, as was Fishing for Amber, a prose meditation.
He is an accomplished musician, and in 1986 he published The Pocket Guide to Irish Traditional Music and, on the same subject, Last Night’s Fun. He published a novel, Shamrock Tea, in 2001, and a new translation of Dante’s Inferno in 2002.