Irish novelist, poet and short story writer
‘A dark and sensuous stylist’. Desmond Traynor in The Independent
Author of Smugglers In the Underground Hug Trade, Ghost Estate, Grace’s Day, Suzy Suzy and the Booker Prize longlisted This is The Country.
William Wall was the 2022 winner of the Premio Internazionale Lettarario Carlo Bo/Giovanni Descalzo, the 2021 winner of the Premio Lerici ‘AngloLiguria’; the 2021 winner of the Premio di Conza Poesia; the 2017 winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature (USA).
He was the first Poet Laureate of his native city, Cork (2021-’22).
He has also won The Patrick Kavanagh Award (Ireland) for poetry; the Doolin Prize for poetry (Ireland); the Virginia Faulkner Award (USA) and The Sean O’Faoláin Prize (Ireland) both for short fiction; and several Writer’s Week prizes (Ireland).
He was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize (UK), The Poetry Now Awards (UK) and The Manchester Fiction Prize (UK). He was shortlisted for the MarEtica Prize (Italy), the Young Minds Book Award (UK), the Irish Book Awards, the Raymond Carver Award (USA), the Hennessy Award (Ireland) and numerous others. He has received Irish Arts Council Bursaries, travel grants from Culture Ireland and translations of his books have been funded by Ireland Literature Exchange. He has received public commissions.
He is not a member of Aosdána – if you’re wondering why, please read his essay ‘Riding Against The Lizard’ at the Icemoon.
His work has been translated into many languages, including Italian, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese, Latvian, Macedonian, Serbian and Catalan. He was 2019 Writer In Residence at the Joyce Summer School in Trieste. He has a particular interest in Italy and has read at several festivals there including the Tratti Festival at Faenza, the Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Genova and at the Pordenone Legge festival near Venice. He translates from Italian. He has co-presented workshops in translation. In 2014 he was part of the Italo-Irish Literature Exchange which gave readings at various places in Italy, including Sant Agata de Goti, Rome, Lugo di Romagna and Bologna. He was an Irish delegate to the European Writers’ Parliament in Istanbul 2010. For March 2010 he was Writer in Residence at The Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco. He was a 2009 Fellow of The Liguria Centre for the Arts & Humanities. He collaborated with artist Harry Moore to produce the Shadowlands exhibition and book in 2008.
He holds a PhD in creative writing from the School of English, University College Cork.
Born in Cork | Grew up in the coastal village of Whitegate | Educated at University College Cork | Degree in Philosophy & English
Empty Bed Blues (New Island Books, 2023) (previously published in Italian as La Ballata del Letto Vuoto [Nutrimenti, Roma, 2022])
Suzy Suzy (Head of Zeus, London, New Island, Dublin, 2019)
Grace’s Day (Head of Zeus, London, New Island, Dublin, 2018)
This Is The Country (Hodder/Sceptre, London, 2005)
The Map of Tenderness (Hodder/Sceptre, London, 2002)
Minding Children (Hodder/Sceptre, London, 2001)
Alice Falling (Hodder/Sceptre, London/WW Norton, New York, 2000)
Hometown Blues (Chapbook, Southword Publications, 2022) Poems of my year as Cork Poet Laureate
Smugglers In The Underground Hug Trade (Doire Press, Galway, 2021)
The Yellow House (Salmon Poetry, Clare, 2017)
Ghost Estate (Salmon Poetry, Clare, 2011)
Fahrenheit Says Nothing To Me (Dedalus, Dublin, 2004)
Mathematics & Other Poems (The Collins Press, Cork, 1997)
The Islands (Pittsburgh University Press, 2017)
Hearing Voices/Seeing Things (Doire Press, Galway, 2016)
No Paradiso (Brandon Book, Dingle, Kerry, 2006)
Click on the cover images below for further information on each publication
Click on an image to see more information about each book or read samples or reviews.
Smugglers in the Underground Hug Trade
Poetry Chapbook (Southword Editions, Cork, 2022) (Poems of my laureate year)
Empty Bed Blues (New Island Book, 2023)
Previously published in Italy as La Ballata Del Letto Vuoto
The Yellow House
Poetry (Salmon Press, Clare, 2017)
This is The Country
Novel (Sceptre, London, 2005)
Poetry (Salmon Press, Clare, 2011 )
The Map of Tenderness
Novel (Sceptre, London 2002)
Novel (Head of Zeus, London 2019)
Novel (Sceptre, London and WW Norton, New York 2000))
The Islands - Six Fictions
Winner of the Drue Heinz Prize (Pittsburgh University Press 2017)
Hearing Voices Seeing Things
Short Fiction Doire Press, Galway 2016)
Novel (Sceptre, London 2001)
Farenheit Says Nothing tio Me
Poetry (Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2008)
Short Fiction (Brandon, Dingle 2006)
Mathematics & Other Poems
Poetry ((Collins Press, Cork 1997)
Links to readings, lectures, recordings, essays etc
Reading and interview at NYU series in Washington
‘Europe and Ireland, the cultural deficit’ – My essay on Europe for the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies – EFACIS
Recording: Ireland and Europe (in Italian) for the Italian publishing house Nutrimenti Editore
In conversation with Alannah Hopkin at the Nano Nagle Centre as part of a Munster Literature Series
Reading with Graham Allen at Cork City Libraries as part of Munster Literature Centre series
My essay on the Tottenham Riots at Critical Legal Thinking
My translation of Carola Susani’s essay ‘Notes on Rosa Luxemburg at 150’ – on Critical Legal Thinking
An interview for my year as official Cork City and County ‘Poet Laureate’
Radio essay about the city of Camogli, Liguria on Sunday Miscellany, RTÉ.
All of my essays at Three Monkeys online literary magazine
An essay on Still’s Disease, a condition which I contracted at 12 years of age
‘A writer’s challenge to politicians over medical cannabis’ – an essay in The Irish Times
‘Love songs of Procida’ – a radio essay on the Italian island of Procida on RTÉ
Interview by Sue Leonard about the Drue Heinz Prize and other matters
My tribute to the great literary editor and novelist David Marcus
Links to some of my stories available online
‘A little bit of news’ – a Christmas story
‘The Mountain Road’ (subscription to Granta required)
‘In The Egyptian Collection’ – also available in Italian translation at the same site
Some of my reviews of other people's books
‘Preaching Poppycock’ – Review of The Poets of Rapallo, by Lauren Arrington
‘Il Miglior Fabbro’ – Review of Massimo Bacigalupo’s Ezra Pound, Italy and The Cantos
‘The Authentic Voice’ – Review of Italian Neorealism – a Cultural History
‘A breath of fresh air’ – my review of Rachel Cusk’s In the Fold
‘You might As Well Jump’ – my review of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down
‘Stepping Into The Liturgical Pit’ – my review of Brian Moynahan’s if God Spare my Life (A biography of William Tyndale)
‘Trotter: What A Rotter’ – Review of Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters’ Club
‘To Madness near Allied’ – Review of Sylvia Nasar’s A Beautiful Mind
Links to poems published as part of my year as Cork 'Poet Laureate'
The Laureate Poems
Appointed ‘Cork Poet Laureate’ for 2021/’22, I was required to write one poem each month on a public theme affecting Cork City or County. Each month the poem is published (text and a voice recording) in The Irish Examiner on the first Wednesday of the following month. The laureateship is an initiative of The Munster Literature Centre and Cork City Council.
May – Hometown Blues
June – Burning The Boats
July – In Geological Time
August – Strike The Grey Sea
September – The Arcades Project
October – A Pet Day In The Lee Fields
November – At Two and a Half Degrees
December – Solstice
January – Two Elegies (For poet Thomas Kinsella and soprano Cara O’Sullivan)
February – The Work Of Mourning (For all the dead of the pandemic)
On April 20th (7.00 pm, Central Library, Cork City) a chapbook of all the poems will be published and launched as part of the Cork World Book Festival (April 21st–25th 2022).
Read more about the laureateship here.
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