William Wall

Irish novelist, poet and short story writer

‘A dark and sensuous stylist’. Desmond Traynor in The Independent



Author of Empty Bed Blues, Smugglers In the Underground Hug TradeGhost 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.

Working with his Italian agent Stefano Tettamanti (Grandi & Associati), he now publishes first in Italian translation and then in English. His forthcoming novel will be published first by Guanda (Milan) in May 2024 as Ti Ricordi Mattie Lantry and in Spring 2025 as Writers Anonymous.

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 many festivals and in many cities there. He translates from Italian. He is a member of EFACIS, The European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies. He has published essays at Studi Irlandesi. 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. 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 with which he continues to collaborate from time to time. 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)



Poetry Collections

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)



Short Stories

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

Smugglers in the Underground Hug Trade

Hometown Blues

Hometown Blues

Poetry Chapbook (Southword Editions, Cork, 2022) (Poems of my laureate year)

Click here for more information

Empty Bed Blues (New Island Book, 2023)

Empty Bed Blues (New Island Book, 2023)

Previously published in Italy as La Ballata Del Letto Vuoto

The Yellow House

The Yellow House

Poetry (Salmon Press, Clare, 2017)

This is The Country

This is The Country

Novel (Sceptre, London, 2005)

Ghost Estate

Ghost Estate

Poetry (Salmon Press, Clare, 2011 )

The Map of Tenderness

The Map of Tenderness

Novel (Sceptre, London 2002)

Suzy Suzy

Suzy Suzy

Novel (Head of Zeus, London 2019)

Alice Falling

Alice Falling

Novel (Sceptre, London and WW Norton, New York 2000))

The Islands - Six Fictions

The Islands - Six Fictions

Winner of the Drue Heinz Prize (Pittsburgh University Press 2017)

Hearing Voices Seeing Things

Hearing Voices Seeing Things

Short Fiction Doire Press, Galway 2016)

Minding Children

Minding Children

Novel (Sceptre, London 2001)

Farenheit Says Nothing tio Me

Farenheit Says Nothing tio Me

Poetry (Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2008)

No Paradiso

No Paradiso

Short Fiction (Brandon, Dingle 2006)

Mathematics & Other Poems

Mathematics & Other Poems

Poetry ((Collins Press, Cork 1997)

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.



Represented by Stefano Tettamanti

Grandi & Associati S.r.l.

Via degli Olivetani, 12
20123 – Milano

Tel. 02.4818.962

Youtube Channel

Click here to visit my Youtube channel

for readings from my novels, stories and poems.