West-Belfast based poet awarded Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary
West-Belfast based poet Natasha Cuddington has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary.
The bursary is awarded annually to a poet of promise and enables the recipient to reside for a period of four weeks at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, an artists’ retreat in Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan.
Natasha has been supported throughout her career by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland under the Support for Individual Artists Scheme. In 2011 she was presented with an ACES Award from the Arts Council, a mentoring programme designed to help artists develop their career potential.
Originally from Canada, Natasha Cuddington was born in Saskatchewan in 1974, and studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Concordia University, Montreal, prior taking an MA in Irish Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her translations and reviews have appeared in When the Neva Rushes Backwards: A bilingual anthology (Lagan: 2014), Cyphers (Dublin), Poetry Ireland (Dublin), Modern Poetry in Translation (Oxford), and Metamorphoses: the journal of the five college faculty seminar on literary translation (Amherst). Her poems have appeared in Irish Feminist Review (Galway), Cyphers (Dublin), can can (Dublin) 4X4 Journal (Belfast) and Washing Windows: Irish Women Write Poetry (Arlen House: 2017). Together with the poet Ruth Carr, Natasha hosts the “Of Mouth” reading series at Belfast’s Linen Hall Library. In December 2016, the Of Mouth imprint launched a posthumous poetry collection by the late Ann Zell, entitled Donegal is a red door.
Natasha was nominated for the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary by the Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. Commenting on the appointment, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin said:
“I was struck by the integrity of her work, its precision in layout and the confidence she shows in a reader’s ability to be touched by language divorced from predictable shapes and structures”.
Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama at the Arts Council, endorsed the award saying:
“Natasha has developed a unique writing style. Quickly gaining praise among her contemporaries for her inventive, original and engaging voice. To be nominated for the 2017 Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary is further commendation of Natasha’s talent as a poet and her ability to produce high-quality, experimental writing.”
Commenting on the award Natasha said:
“This bequest from the Trustees and the Ireland Chair of Poetry will facilitate what I hope to be a four-week period of solitude and deep focus as I settle in on the generation of new written work.
The situation of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig – isolated as it is from the city, and the hubbub of the domestic – will provide recess from my very busy family life.
I wish to acknowledge the encouragements of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, who has, over the number of years since her first publication of my work in Cyphers Magazine, been a paragon of creative generosity.”