Renowned Galway poet Rita Ann Higgins was presented with the Living Poets Society Award 2021 the Power of Words Festival in Co. Laois on Sunday.
Rita Anne has acquired a large audience through her pandemic poems which featured regularly on the Brendan O’Connor show on RTÉ Radio One from the start of the pandemic.
After the event in Abbeyleix which also celebrated her work, Rita Anne said that to be honoured in this way is deeply humbling.
“It is a joyous occasion in these contrary and befuddling times. The award has lifted my spirits,” she said.
Rita Ann was born in 1955 in Galway, where she still lives. She is one of 13 children and left school at 14.
She was in her late 20s when she started writing poetry and has since published 11 books of poetry, a memoir, Hurting God, and a book of essays and poems Our Killer City.
She has written several plays and two screenplays. Her latest collection is called Pathogens Love a Patsy, Pandemic and other poems.
Higgins has been the recipient of numerous awards and bursaries and was Galway County’s Writer-in-Residence in 1987, Writer in Residence at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 1994–95, Writer in Residence for Offaly County Council in 1998–99.
She was Green Honors Professor at Texas Christian University, in October 2000. Other awards include a Peadar O’Donnell Award in 1989, several Arts Council bursaries ‘Sunny Side Plucked’ was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
She was made an honorary fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University November 2006.
She also participated in prison workshops in Ireland and UK and did voluntary work at promoting positive mental health, and is a member of Aosdána.