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Mary O'Malley

Congratulations to Mary O'Malley, Arts Council Writer-in-Residence at UL for 2016, on the publication of her latest collection, Playing the Octopus.


Born in Connemara, and educated at University College Galway, O’Malley lived in Lisbon for eight years and taught at the Universidade Nova there. She served on the council of Poetry Ireland and was on the Committee of the Cúirt International Poetry Festival for eight years, she was the author of its educational programme.

She taught on MA programmes for Writing and Education in the Arts at NUI Galway for ten years, held the Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2013, and has held Residencies in Paris, Tarragona, New York, NUI Galway, as well as in Derry, Belfast and Mayo. She is a member of Aosdana and has won a number of awards for her poetry.  She writes for RTE Radio and broadcasts her work regularly.

O’Malley has been active in environmental education for twenty years with a specific interest in the sea and bogland. Her current project is a memoir of childhood, as well as essays on place. She has published seven books of poetry, Valparaiso published in 2012 takes as its central axis her residency on the national marine research ship The Celtic Explorer. She has worked with both traditional and classical musicians, having done a residency with trad music in Belfast, and with Music For Galway.