The Creative Writing programme at the University of Limerick is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Martin Dyar as its 2018 Arts Council Writer in Residence. He will join novelists Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, Joseph O’Connor, Giles Foden and Donal Ryan as a teacher on UL’s MA in Creative Writing and at UL’s Creative Writing Summer School. Dr Dyar succeeds award-winning novelist and short-story writer Julian Gough in the post, which was previously held by poet Mary O’Malley and novelist Donal Ryan.
Formerly a fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, and a writer in residence at the Washington Ireland Programme, Martin Dyar grew up in Swinford, County Mayo. He holds an MA in English Literature from NUI Galway and a PhD in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, where for ten years he taught in the TCD School of Medicine. He has also taught writing at Southern Illinois University and at NUI Galway.
His debut poetry collection Maiden Names, described by the poet Bernard O’Donoghue as ‘a thrilling new development in Irish poetry’, was shortlisted for both the Pigott Poetry Prize and the Shine/Strong Award. He won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2009, the Raftery Award in 2006, and the Strokestown International Poetry Award in 2001.
His work has been added to the Leaving Cert prescribed poetry syllabus and has been included in several high-profile anthologies.
Having established himself as one of the finest poets of his generation, Dyar turned his hand to drama in 2010, writing a play, Tom Loves a Lord, about the life and music of the Irish poet Thomas Moore.
His current projects include a song cycle created with the composer Ryan Molloy and the soprano Francesca Placanica, which will premiere in October, 2018.
Professor Sarah Moore, Course Director for the MA in Creative Writing, said of Martin Dyar’s appointment: ‘To have a writer of Martin’s calibre on campus will enrich UL and Limerick’s surrounding community in a range of wonderful ways. We all look forward to welcoming him and to learning from him.’
Martin Dyar expressed his happiness at the appointment, saying, ‘I feel deeply honoured and hugely excited to have this opportunity to become Writer in Residence at UL. I'll be applying my voice to the burning questions: What is creative writing? Where does it come from? And how can we have more of it? And I'll be doing this as part of a culture that is famously energetic and welcoming, in a writing programme that is defined by excellence.’
Prof Joseph O’Connor, UL’s Frank McCourt Chair of Creative Writing, remarked: ‘We at UL Creative Writing are delighted and honoured to have a writer of Martin Dyar's immense gifts as our 2018 Writer Fellow. We thank the Arts Council for their assistance with this project. I hope it will be a fruitful and enjoyable year for Martin, and I know his presence will help make it so for our students.’