Leanne O'Sullivan was born in 1983, and comes from the Beara peninsula in West Cork. She received an MA in English in 2006 from University College, Cork, where she now teaches. The winner of several of Ireland's poetry competitions in her early 20s (including the Seacat, Davoren Hanna and RTE Rattlebag Poetry Slam), she has published four collections, all from Bloodaxe, Waiting for My Clothes (2004), Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009), winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2010, The Mining Road (2013) and A Quarter of an Hour (2018), winner of the inaugural Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award 2019. A Quarter of an Hour was also shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2019 and the Pigott Poetry Prize 2019. She was given the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award in 2009 and the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry in 2011, and received a UCC Alumni Award in 2012. Her work has been included in various anthologies, including Selina Guinness's The New Irish Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) and Billy Collins's Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House, 2003). Residencies and festival readings have taken her to France, India, China and America, amongst other locations.
Leanne O'Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis - a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness - interacts with our experience of the non-human. Dawn, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the 'here to not here' of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement. -- Maurice Riordan * Judge of the Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award *