Katie is 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 has had fantastic responses from readers and writers alike since 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 has also been interviewed by poet Nessa O’Mahoney as part of the Attic Sessions podcast series. She is 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 (both of whom have published new collections recently).

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.

All in all, a year to remember!

“Off Duty”
This powerful new collection combines Donovan’s unflinching insight into our human foibles with her exceptional descriptive gift. The years of her husband’s throat cancer are charted in poems by turns tender, harsh and darkly humorous. Donovan voices the carer’s duty of being the one who watches, and contains, what is both a searing tragedy and a chain link of domestic chores.The title poems resists the classic definition of the grieving widow, instead capturing one of Donovan’s enduring motifs – the moment when the mask slips and the true human response is revealed.

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
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

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.”

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