Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright. Prizes he has garnered include the Eric Gregory Award (1979), the Somerset Maugham Award (1984), the Cholmondeley Award (1988), the Forward Poetry Prize (2001 and 2007) and the T. S. Eliot Prize (2007).
O’Brien’s book of essays on contemporary poetry, The Deregulated Muse (Bloodaxe), was published in 1998, as was his anthology The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945 (Picador). Cousin Coat: Selected Poems 1976-2001 (Picador) was published in 2002. Sean O’Brien’s new verse version of Dante’s Inferno was published by Picador in October 2006. His six collections of poetry to date have all won awards.
In 2007 he won the Northern Rock Foundation Writer’s Award, Forward Prize for Best Collection and the T S Eliot Prize for The Drowned Book (Picador, 2007).
In 2006, he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and was previously Professor of Poetry at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a Vice-President of the Poetry Society.
Sean’s 1997 Smith/Doorstop pamphlet was The Ideology.