Rita Ann Higgins

Rita Ann Higgins was born in 1955 in Galway, Ireland. She has published 10 collections of poetry a memoir and in 2019 a book of essays with poems. She left formal education at 14. As an adult, in NUIG she received a dilploma sa Gaeilge and a diploma in Women’s Studies 1994-1996.


Poetry collections; from Salmon Poetry

Goddess on the Mervue Bus(1986),

Witch in the Bushes (1988),

Goddess and Witch (1990),

Philomena’s Revenge (1992)

Higher Purchase (1996)


Poetry collections from Bloodaxe

Sunny Side Plucked (1996),

An Awful Racket (2001),

Throw in the Vowels: New & Selected Poems in May 2005 (to mark her 50th birthday)

Ireland is Changing Mother(2011).

Tongulish  2016.


Salmon published a memoir in prose and poetry Hurting God, part essay, part rhyme in 2010.

In 2019 Salmon published Our Killer City (essays and poems).


Her plays include: Face Licker Come Home (1991), (published by Salmon)

God of the Hatch man (1992),

Colie Lally Doesn’t Live in a Bucket (1993)

Down All the Roundabouts (1999),

The Big Break 2004 (screenplay)

The Empty Frame (inspired by Hanna Greally, 2008),

THE PLASTIC BAG (A play for radio 2008).

The Colossal Longing of Julie Connors (2012)


Screenplays in the Irish Language

Straois / The Smirk (2018) Screenplay

Í dTeanga Eile/ They Speak in Tongues (2018)



She has edited Out the Clara Road: The Offaly Anthology (1999),

Word and Image: a collection of poems from Sunderland Women’s Centre and Washington Bridge Centre in 2000.

She co edited ‘FIZZ Poetry of resistance and challenge, an anthology written by young people, in 2004.



She was Galway County’s Writer-in-Residence in 1987, Writer in Residence at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 1994-95, Writer in Residence for Offaly County Council in 1998-99.

She was Green Honors Professor at Texas Christian University, in October 2000.

Other awards include a Peadar O’Donnell Award in 1989, several Arts Council bursaries.


Sunny Side Plucked’ received a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.

She was made an Honorary Fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University Nov 2006.

She is a member of AOSDANA


Competition Judge

She was a judge in the IMPAC fiction prize in 2005

The Listowel Novel of the Year prize  in 2013

The Fish Prize in 2000

The Listowel Prize for poetry in 2007

The Hotpress ,Write Here, Write Now prize 2018


Anthologies: ( A Sample)

Dogs singing, Ed Jessie Lendennie. Salmon Poetry

Everything to Play For: Ed, John Mc Auliffe

Images of Women: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry,Ed By Myra Scneider & Dily’s Wood.

Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-critical Sourcebook. Ed by Alexander G Gonzalez.

Lucy Collins: Poetry by Women in Ireland a critical Anthology.

Fermata-writing inspired by music Ed by Eva Bourke & Vincent Woods.

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing Volume V.

Arguments of Heart and mind: Selected essays 1977-2000 Janet Montefiore.

The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry Ed Patrick Crotty.

The Wake forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry 1976-2000

Dodging Around the Grand Piano, Sex, Politics and Contemporary Irish Women’s Poetry by Ailbhe Smyth.

Shine On: Daedalus Press Ed Pat Boran.

Don’t Ask me What I mean (poets in their own words)Ed Claire Brown & Don Patterson.



Arena (several times)

The Brendan O Connor Show

Playback (several times)

Lyric FM

BBC Northern Ireland

BBC Manchester.


National Television Appearances:

The Saturday Night Show 2014

The Late Late Show 2016

The Late Late Show 2017


Prison Workshops:

Cork Prison

Limerick Prison

Loughan House Open Prison. Co Cavan

Mountjoy Prison

Mountjoy Women’s Prsion Dochas

Mahgaberry Prsion Belfast

Highpoint Prison UK.


Voluntary Community workshop

With Galway Grow Group- promoting positive mental health.

From 2013-2015

Where they produced a play based loosely on Chekov’s

Ward No Six. Written and performed by the group.

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