Born in Belfast in 1941, Derek Mahon was educated at Trinity College Dublin and the Sorbonne.
He has worked as a journalist and screenwriter in Dublin and London, adapting Irish novels for television, and has taught at Barnard College, New York and New York University.
His poetry collections include The Hudson Letter (1995), The Yellow Book (1997) and Collected Poems (1999). His most recent collection is Harbour Lights (2005). He has translated plays and poetry by Sophocles, Euripides, Racine, Molière, Nerval and Philippe Jaccottet; the latter work won the C.K. Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize. His other awards include the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Poetry Prize, the Irish-American Cultural Institute Award and Lannan and Guggenheim fellowships.
He lives in Kinsale, Co. Cork.