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West Belfast-based poet awarded Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary

West-Belfast based poet Natasha Cuddington has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry bursary.

A WEST Belfast-based poet praised for her " inventive, original and engaging voice" has been awarded this year's Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary.

Natasha Cuddington was named as the recipient of the bursary, which is awarded annually to a "poet of promise".

The accolade will allow Ms Cuddington, who is originally from Canada, to reside at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, an artists' retreat in Co Monaghan for four weeks.

She studied for an MA in Irish Studies at Queen's University, Belfast and has been supported throughout her career by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Her poems have appeared in several publications including Irish Feminist Review and she co-hosts a reading series at Belfast's Linen Hall Library.

Ms Cuddington said she hopes the retreat will allow her "solitude and deep focus as I settle in on the generation of new written work".

"The situation of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig - isolated as it is from the city, and the hubbub of the domestic - will provide recess from my very busy family life," she said.

"I wish to acknowledge the encouragements of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, who has, over the number of years since her first publication of my work in Cyphers Magazine, been a paragon of creative generosity."

Damian Smyth from the Arts Council said Ms Cuddington had "developed a unique writing style".

"Quickly gaining praise among her contemporaries for her inventive, original and engaging voice," he said.

He said the award was "further commendation of Natasha's talent as a poet and her ability to produce high-quality, experimental writing".

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