Dermot Healy, the Irish poet and author of A Goat's Song and Sudden Times, has died aged 66.
Peter Fallon, his editor and a fellow poet, confirmed the news initially reported by the Irish press this morning.
“It's a shock – he's too young, and quite honestly we have had more than enough of that recently,” he told The Guardian.
He went on to describe the writer of novels, non-fiction plays and poetry as a “true original”.
“What could not be escaped was his distinctive way of seeing and of saying, that was utterly trustworthy, because it was utterly his own.”
Born in Finea, County Westweath, Healy lived in Ballyconnell, County Sligo.
However, he spent the majority of his childhood in County Cavan, which set the scene for his autobiography, The Bend for Home, described by author Patrick McCabe as “probably the finest memoir… written in Ireland in the last 50 years”.
Healy won many literary prizes during his career, including the Tom Gallon, the Encore and the Hennessy.
“Whether writing as a poet, as a novelist or in the memoir form, Dermot Healy was, like all great writers of a Modernist sensibility, only happy when he achieved a perfect marriage between form and content,” Lee Brackstone, the editor of Healy’s final novel, Long Time, No See (Faber and Faber 2011) told The Independent.
“He had such a voice: situated somewhere between a secure if restless grounding in rural Ireland and the exile and loneliness of life in the city. His language had both the common touch and the uncommon intelligence of a writer who understood that great literature must be elusive and unknowable. We've lost a great mind and a great man; a modern man with a timeless understanding of the mystical currents of Ireland.”