Grace Wells, a frequent contributor of poems and book reviews to Contrary, has been awarded the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award, which goes to the best first book of poetry by an Irish poet. And in a land of poets, that’s no easy feat.
Wells won for When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things, published last year by Dedalus Press. A number of the poems in the volume first appeared in Contrary, including the title poem. Wells was honored Sunday at Poetry Now, Ireland’s annual poetry and publishing conference in Dun Laoghaire.
From her book publisher:
Born in London and for many years resident in Ireland, Wells has for some time been a frequent contributor to literary journals on this island and beyond, and her debut poetry collection follows prize-winning fiction for children, namely her novel, Gyrfalcon (2002), which received the Eilis Dillon Best Newcomer Bisto Award and was an International White Ravens’ Choice. Other publications for children include Ice-Dreams (2008) and One World, Our World (2009).
When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things is that rare thing, a debut collection of poems that is at once firmly earthed in the real yet intimately connected to the mythic. Wells was in good poetic company on the shortlist which also included Caitríona Ní Chléirchín’s Crithloinnir, Órfhlaith Foyle’s Red Riding Hood’s Dilemma and Paul Maddern’s The Beachcomber’s Report. The judge this year was critic and translator Michael Cronin.
Here’s an index of Grace’s poems in Contrary:
- It Begins When the Leaves Turn
- The Funeral Director’s Wife
- When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things
- The Hostage Place
A 2007 interview with Grace Wells
And you’ll find many of Grace’s book reviews in our Review Archives. She has specialized in reviewing emerging Irish poets, among whom she has just become most prominent.
Grace, dear friend and colleague, congratulations!