Writing Yourself Home

Vona Groarke meets fellow poets John McAuliffe, Martina Evans, Sinéad Morrissey and Conor O’Callaghan, who all share her experience of moving from Ireland to live and work in the UK.

First broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm on 8th October 2023. Re-broadcast 28 January 2024.

Listen back here.

Poets Vona Groarke (left) and Martina Evans.

What is it like to be an Irish poet in England? How does it influence your work, your relationship with language, and your thoughts of ‘home’?

These are some of the questions explored in Writing Yourself Home, when Vona Groarke is in conversation with fellow Irish poets.

John McAuliffe

Vona has been living in Manchester for 17 years, and she meets four other poets from different parts of Ireland: Martina Evans from Cork, who now lives in London, Conor O’Callaghan from Dundalk, who lives in Sheffield, Sinéad Morrissey from Belfast, who lives near Newcastle, and John McAuliffe from Listowel, who lives in Manchester. They talk about what brought them there and how living there has (or maybe hasn’t) changed how and what they think about Ireland, and how and what they write.

Sinéad Morrissey and Vona Groarke

Vona Groarke reads a poem from her collection X, published by The Gallery Press, and John McAuliffe reads work from The Kabul Olympics, also published by The Gallery Press. Martina Evans reads from her collection American Mules and Sinéad Morrissey from On Balance, both published by Carcanet. Conor O’Callaghan reads a short extract from his novel We Are Not In The World, published by Doubleday, and the programme ends with a reading by Bernard O’Donoghue, from an earlier generation of Irish poets who went to England, of his poem Westering Home. Bernard’s work is published by Faber.

Conor O’Callaghan and Vona Groarke

The producer is Claire Cunningham. Additional recording was supervised by Louise Williams, sound mix was by Tinpot Productions, and the programme is a Rockfinch Production for RTÉ lyric fm.

The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from the Television Licence Fee and the producer for Lyric fm is Eoin O’Kelly.

The programme is available to podcast on the usual podcast platforms and on the RTÉ Radio Player.