Katie read with fellow contributors to “Correspondences: An Anthology to Call for an End to Direct Provision” on January 16th for Phizzfest in Phibsborough, Dublin City.
On March 29th, Katie was to have given a reading with fellow poets John McAuliffe and Nidhe Zak, as part of the Mountains to Sea literary festival in Dun Laoghaire. Sadly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the M2C festival was cancelled – although the organisers generously gave all speakers a percentage of their fee anyway.
Katie is the judge in the Adult Poetry category of the Local Voices creative writing competition organised by the Arts Office in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown (May 2020). She has been commissioned to write four new poems to be given to DLR Library users who are cocooning, as part of their book deliveries.
Katie has a poem in the forthcoming Bloodaxe anthology, edited by the wonderful Neil Astley: “Staying Human”. It is the fourth in the series that started with the best-selling “Staying Alive” (in which Katie also has a poem). The new anthology includes the title poem from Katie’s last collection “Off Duty” as well as poems by a raft of wonderful contributors. Available in September but can be pre-ordered from the Bloodaxe website.
Katie gave a reading at Lilliput’s HQ in Dublin’s Stoneybatter on January 6th. Her fellow readers were poets Paula Meehan, Oana Sanziano Marian and Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi. There was music by Anna Mieke and Branwen. The night was in honour of Nollaig na mBan. All proceeds went to the Rape Crisis Centre.
Katie was delighted to read at the inaugural Shaking Bog Festival in Glencree in June, and travelled to Cork in August to perform as featured reader at the legendary O Bheal showcase (the recording of her reading is available on the O Bheal website).
In July, her poem “Loose Talk” appeared in The Yale Review, and in August her poem “Salad Days” was chosen by Eavan Boland to feature in Poetry Ireland Review.
Three of Katie’s poems about the sea were set to music by the composer and pianist, Izumi Kimura, who, along with singer Olesya Zdorovetska and sound engineer Anthony Kelly, created a wonderful concert in August as part of Izumi’s DLR music residency. Anthony has featured Katie’s own readings of the poems in his Sound Lab sessions at Blackrock library in the Autumn.
Katie gave a reading at the Bray Literary Festival with playwright Tom Kilroy and novelist Eilis Ni Dhuibhne (in September) and joined long-time compadres Jane Clarke and Maureen Boyle to read her poems at Books Upstairs in Dublin on December 8th.
Katie enjoyed mentoring Kurdish poet and artist Insaf Yalcinkaya for three months, as part of an initiative dreamed up by poet Jessica Traynor and actor Stephen Rea. The result, an anthology of poetry by Irish and Immigrant Poets, was launched in November. Entitled “Correspondences” it is an eloquent and heart-rending mixum gatherem of voices and images.
Katie was one of the performers at “Lifelines” a fundraiser for the Blackrock Hospice, in memory of Shirley McClure, in October. A goodly sum (over three thousand euro) was raised for the hospice and the night flew by,thanks to Jane Clarke, Liz McManus, Geraldine Mitchell, Eamon Sweeney, Colm Breatnach, Philip Beck and many more.
Katie was part of the launch of “Tongues” the new poetry collection by her former TCD lecturer Peggy O’Brien, at Poetry Ireland in April. She was one of the readers at the launch of Shirley McClure’s posthumous poetry collection, Origami Doll (Arlen House), at Hodges Figgis in Dublin at 6pm on May 1st. She launched “The Hollow Woman on the Island” later in May, the new collection by poet Nessa O’Mahoney, at Poetry Ireland.
She facilitated a Creative Writing class in TCD in April.
The highlight of Katie’s year was visiting Aras an Uachtarain in April with a group from the Irish Writers’ Centre. President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed each of the writers in person. A published poet himself and a man of great erudition, the president gave a rousing speech in support of writers and independent bookshops. There was tea and a tour of the house, which is beautiful.
In other news, Katie judged the Yeovil Poetry Competition (UK).
She enjoyed visiting St Dominic’s Secondary School for girls in Belfast to give a poetry reading in February, hosted by poet Maureen Boyle, who teaches English at the school.
Katie was delighted to have a poem selected for the Poetry Jukebox project, which is in Belfast, curated by Belfast poets Maria McManus and Deirdre Cartmill.
Katie gave an illustrated talk entitled “A Writer in the Family” at the RHA in March. This was part of the “Expert Workshop” series run by Eneclann, the Family History genealogists.
She was pleased to have two new poems in “The Interpreter’s House”.
In April she was the subject of Sophie Grenham’s lovely “Writer’s Block” series for the online version of “The Gloss” magazine.
Katie gave the launch speech for a new exhibition of photographs entitled “Ghostlight” by poet/photographer Mark Granier (on view at DLR Lexicon, in the library during May).
Katie had a new poem in the anthology published by Arlen House to honour 250 years of Hodges Figgis, Dublin’s oldest bookshop, and was delighted to read with some of the other contributors at one of the launch events.
Katie took part in Aspects in Bangor – her fourth visit to the festival – in September in a “Fired!” event. Chaired by Dr Lucy Collins of UCD the honouring of Irish women poets included a reading and panel discussion.
In November Katie visited the Avoca Scribblers Writing Group to facilitate a Creative Writing Workshop.
Katie was the recipient of the 2017 Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry. She travelled to St Paul, Minnesota in April to accept the Award.
“She has always been a poet of the body, including the body in love, the maternal body, and, sadly, the mortal body. Donovan’s collections avoid the now usual kinds of well-made Irish poetry – the lyric, the elegy, the pastoral. Instead we hear urban talk, echoes of popular music, sometimes in tones and situations borrowed from the American idiom of the Blues…For the intensity and conviction of her poetry, in recognition of the great range of both her craft and her subject matter, and appreciation of her ongoing dedication to the witness and vocation of the writer, the University of St Thomas and the Center for Irish Studies are honored to present Katie Donovan with the twenty-first O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry.”
Katie was delighted to see “Off Duty” (Bloodaxe) on the shortlist for the Irish Times/Poetry Now Award, 2017. The winner was Paddy Bushe. Also shortlisted were Paula Meehan, Tom McCarthy and Macdara Woods. She enjoyed being in such company.
Katie had fantastic responses from readers and writers alike on the publication of “Off Duty” in 2016. The launch in Dublin’s Hodges Figgis, was packed out, and Mary O’Malley gave a wonderful launch speech. The Belfast launch in the cosy No Alibis bookshop in November was a very special night, hosted by poets Maria McManus and Maureen Boyle (who gave Katie a terrific introduction). Katie was delighted to read to a full house in Tallaght in October as part of the excellent Red Line Festival.
Two radio interviews later (BBC and RTE 1), Katie was also interviewed by poet Nessa O’Mahoney as part of the Attic Sessions podcast series. She was proud to have a poem in both “Inside History”, an anthology dedicated to Eavan Boland edited by Nessa and Siobhan Campbell published by Arlen House; and in “Washing Windows?” an anthology of poetry by Irish women published by Arlen as a gift to Eavan in December 2016.
In February 2017 Katie read to a packed house with the wonderful Bernard O’Donoghue at the Cork International Poetry Festival – always a pleasure – and in March she was featured at Poetry Now, reading with longtime friend and fellow Bloodaxe poet, Harry Clifton.
Katie was delighted to read her poems in June at the 2017 Dalkey Book Festival. This is her local literary bash and is now highly successful.
She gave a reading at the wonderful Books Upstairs in Dublin, along with poet friends Siobhan Campbell and Jean O’Brien.
In July Katie read at the John Hewitt Summer School with the immensely talented English poet Denise O’Riley.
In September she read at the Shorelines Festival in Portumna Co Galway with fellow Bloodaxe poet, Leanne O’Sullivan.
She took the stage with the fabulous Mary O’Malley at the 40th Clifden Arts Festival.
In November she linked up again with Siobhan Campbell, and also Jane Clarke (author of the acclaimed poetry collection “The River”) to give a reading at the gorgeous Rathgar Bookshop – the last, as the bookshop then went up for sale. A very emotional occasion.
Katie features in a new venture by Bloodaxe Books entitled “In Person: World Poets”, a Book/DVD anthology of poetry by a selection of Bloodaxe poets, published in 2017.
To round off a busy year, Katie had a poem included in an anthology of poems inspired by Ovid’s “Metamorphosis”. Edited by Nessa O’Mahony and Paul Munden, the book is entitled “Metamorphic” and features a wide variety of voices.
Katie did a radio interview on Arts Daily, a BBC World Service magazine programme called Outlook, aired 12th October – if you want a listen go to http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/news?articleid=653
She was also interviewed on RTE 1’s Poetry Programme, by Rick O’Shea.
Katie’s fourth collection, “Rootling: New and Selected Poems”, which was published in 2010, is now available as an e book.
Purchase Rootling at amazon.co.uk
Comment from Holly Meyers on “Yearn On”, a love poem by Katie:
“I recently received your poem from my significant other. It was the most beautiful poem I have ever read…Thank you for being such a passionate soul and putting into words what others need.”