Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney



Born Co Donegal, Ireland, 1952. Lived for many years in London. Recently has been spending time abroad - in Germany and Romania - but returning to UK and Ireland frequently for work and earnings purposes. 

As well as publications mentioned elsewhere, work is increasingly appearing in translation.  See 'Translation' section below, under Publications. 

Has lived as a freelance writer since the mid 1980s.


BA in German and English, Polytechnic of North London / University of Freiburg, 1979.

Gormanston College, 1965 - 70


Sanctuary (Cape, 2004)

Selected Poems (Cape, 2002); a variant of this published in Canada, in 2002, under the title A Picnic on Ice by Signal Editions, Vehicule Press.

A Smell of Fish (Cape, 2000)

The Bridal Suite (Cape, 1997)

Cacti (Secker & Warburg, 1992)

Blue Shoes (Secker & Warburg, 1989)

The Lame Waltzer (Allison & Busby / Raven Arts Press, 1985)

A Round House (Allison & Busby / Raven Arts Press, 1983)

Poetry for children

Up on the Roof: New and Selected Poems (Faber, 2001)

Fiction for children

Fox (Bloomsbury, 2002; in German translation, from Berlin Verlag, 2003)

The Snow Vulture (Faber, 1992)


Writing Poetry and Getting Published (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997; Second Edition 2003) - co-author with John Hartley Williams.


Irish Poems (Macmillan, 2005)

The New Faber Book of Children's Verse (Faber, 2001)

Beyond Bedlam: Poems Written out of Mental Distress 
(Anvil, 1997); co-editor with Ken Smith.

Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times
(Faber, 1996); co-editor with Jo Shapcott.


A German translation of Fox came out from Berlin Verlag in October 2003, and a Dutch translation the following year. Books of poetry in translation have appeared over the last few years in Romania, Mexico, Latvia and Slovakia, with others forthcoming in Holland in 2005 and Germany in 2006. His poems are currently being translated in Italy, Croatia and Japan. 



Poet in residence, stAnza Poetry  Festival, 2003

Poet in residence, Ledbury Festival, 2002

Poet in residence, National Library for the Blind, 2000

Writer in Residence, University of Reading, 1998

Poet in residence, Chadwyck-Healey electronic publisher, 1997

Writer in Residence, South Bank Centre, London, 1994/95

Poet in Residence, Hereford & Worcester, 1991

Henfield Writing Fellowship, University of East Anglia, 1987

Poet in Residence, Farnham College, Surrey, 1984 & 85

Other Relevant Experience

Tutor of weekly poetry workshop at Morley College, London.

Regular tutor of one-off workshops in Britain, Ireland and elsewhere.

Frequent tutor of Arvon courses.

Readings and workshops in Romania, Hungary and Spain, 2002; in Mexico, 2001; and in France and the US in 1999.

Readings in Italy, Austria and Canada, 2002; in Canada, Mexico and Belgium, 2001; in Australia and Germany, 2000; in South Africa, 1999; in India and Holland, 1998.

Regular readings in UK, Ireland and the US.

Frequent contributor to BBC radio programmes.

Occasional reviewer of poetry-related books, or children's books.


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