Dawn Watson

Dawn Watson


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Personal profile

Research Focus

I am completing a PhD (poetry) at the Seamus Heaney Centre called Strangely Alive: Elizabeth Bishop’s Poetic Prose and the ‘Art of Story Writing’. The project is a critical investigation of Elizabeth Bishop's poetic prose, set alongside a creative collection of poem stories set in 1980s North Belfast.

Research Interests

I am a PhD student at the Seamus Heaney Centre interested in both creative writing practice and critical analysis. My research interests are in the overlap between poetics and prose—specifically, the poetry and prose of Elizabeth Bishop. My supervisors are Dr Gail McConnell and Dr Leontia Flynn.

My debut poetry pamphlet The Stack of Owls is Getting Higher was published in June 2019 by The Emma Press. With support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland following an Artists' Career Enhancement Scheme award, I am currently working on my first novel.

I have short stories published in anthologies Still Worlds Turning (No Alibis Press, June 2019) and Belfast Stories (Doire Press, June 2019). My short story ‘Sonny’s Bench’ was performed by actor Ian McElhinney for BBC Radio 4 in July 2019. I was signed by David Godwin Associates Literary Agency (London) in summer 2019.

I have poetry and prose published in literary journals including The Manchester Review, Blackbox Manifold, The Stinging Fly, The MothThe Vacuum, The Cormorant, The Honest Ulsterman and The Tangerine. My poem ‘This Is Just to Say (the Gays Will Steal Your Fruit)’ was commissioned by the Dublin Fringe Festival for ‘The North is Next’ event, September 2019. My long poem ‘Hello, I Am Alive’ was published in Poetry Ireland e-book Hello, I Am Alive (the e-book was in turn named after the poem).

I graduated with distinction from MA "Poetry: Creativity and Criticism" at Queen’s University in autumn 2018. I previously graduated with a first from BA "English with Creative Writing" in summer 2017, winning the Ruth West Poetry Award, and the Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Literary Scholarship for academic achievement. I also won the Dr George Alexander Baird Scholarship in 2016.

I was selected as one of the 2018 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series poets, and supported Hera Lindsay Bird as part of the 2018 International Literary Festival Dublin. I was the winner of the 2018 Doolin Writers’ Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Mairtín Crawford Award in 2018 and the Dermot Healy Poetry Award in 2017. I’ve given readings at many literary festivals and events, most recently in London at The Poetry Society. I have also participated in panel events and facilitated literary events, including the ‘Sky, You Are Too Big’ event at Hillsborough Literary Festival in 2019.

I am a former tabloid sub editor with newspapers including The Sunday Times, The News of the World and The Daily Mirror. 


I taught on the undergraduate Introduction to Creative Writing module (ENG1090) at the Seamus Heaney Centre, 2019/20, also Creative Writing Prose (ENG2093), 2020/21.


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