ARMAGH poet Sinead Morrissey has nominated for a top book award in the US.
A collection by Morrissey, from Portadown, has been tipped for a top American award by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC).
Described by some as the ‘Oscars of the book trade’, Sinéad’s collection, Parallax and Selected Poems, published in the US by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has been shortlisted for the poetry prize as one of five nominees in that category.
Just 30 writers were shortlisted for six awards by the NBCC’s board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications who selected from the best books published in the US last year.
Morrissey, a professor in Creative Writing at Queens University, Belfast said: "This shortlisting was completely unexpected.
"I'm delighted for my work to be recognised by the panel of such a distinguished literary prize: just to be on this shortlist is a huge honour in itself."
Damian Smyth, head of literature and drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “Sinead Morrissey’s shortlisting for the American edition (from Farrar, Straus and Giroux) of her TS Eliot Prize-winning collection Parallax, expanded to include poems from throughout her career, is a tremendous achievement in itself.
"With the likes of Colm Toibin, Mary Beard and James Wood, her shortlisting is evidence of how this poet’s brilliance is already recognised across the Atlantic. We wish her the best of luck at the prize-giving on St Patrick’s weekend.”
The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors.
The awards will be presented on March 17, 2016.
Comprising more than 700 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honouring the best books published in the past year in the US.
Morrissey has been supported in her career by public funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and she wrote the award-winning Parallax collection with the help of a Major Individual Artist Award in 2012/13.
She was also appointed as the first Poet Laureate for the city of Belfast in 2014 by the Arts Council and Belfast City Council.