Arts and Entertainment Sinéad Morrissey is the winner of the TS Eliot Prize

Winning the TS Eliot Prize is hardly a matter of life and death. But the film of that name inspired Sinéad Morrissey to pen a collection which finally secured the UK’s most prestigious poetry prize for Belfast’s first poet laureate.

Books: Lines on the brain

This Thursday, 9 October, is National Poetry Day. Around the country there will be events prize-giving and readings publishers are busy putting out the best of old and new BY HEART: 101 Poems to Remember by Ted Hughes, Faber pounds 7.99 OLD CHESTNUTS WARMED UP

Cheltenham `97: Hibernian Muse at work

A major theme of Cheltenham 1997 is Irish Writing. The first weekend, sponsored by the Irish Sunday Independent, features over a dozen events that highlight the contribution made by 20th-century Irish authors to what we think of as "English Literature". And a score of modern Irish practitioners will be crossing the Irish Sea to present their new work and discuss the multifarious destinations of the Hibernian Muse.

Pick Of The Year

Books

Canadian's first novel wins top prize for women's fiction

Canadian writer Anne Michaels last night won Britain's richest literary prize, the pounds 30,000 Orange Prize for Fiction with her first novel, Fugitive Pieces. She was a surprise winner, beating celebrated novelists such as Margaret Atwood and E Annie Proulx.

Assassination of an innocent

The murder of Sean Brown has dumbfounded fellow villagers because he was a byword for non-sectarian generosity to all, writes Paul Vallely in Bellaghy, County Derry

Poet begs release from stain of blood

Seamus Heaney's image, "a space has been created in which hope can grow," came to be associated with the Northern Ireland peace process and the desire for an end to war. The award to the poet of the Nobel prize for literature was one of those shining moments in which the best of Ireland was on show.

Chantal Joffe, Victoria Miro Gallery

VISUAL ARTS

Death and the poet and the WPC

Robert Hanks the week on radio

Greener on the other side

The Irish talent for writing is renowned the world over: here, two new anthologies prove once again that this is one national stereotype that can't easily be denied

POEMS FOR YOUR PENCIL CASE

Fifteen years ago, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney compiled their highly successful anthology The Rattle Bag. Their follow-up, The School Bag, is 'less of a carnival, more like a checklist'. Will it too be a winner?

Poetry is the new rock'n'roll: there's a record to prove it

Poetry in the movies, poetry in the papers, poetry on the Tube and now poetry in the world of rock ... can nothing stop poetry's advance?

Letter: The Welsh way with words

London has woken-up to the huge depth of current Scottish literary talent ("Scotia Nostra", Review, 19 January) and the Irish, it has long been accepted, are in many cases better writers than the English. Which leaves the Welsh: the oldest indigenous culture in Western Europe, with their inaccessible native language and the ghost of Dylan Thomas.

Ballard fights Booker winner

Whitbread Prize: Marianne Macdonald assesses this year's shortlist, while Boyd Tonkin, `The Independent's' new literary editor, offers publishers and aspiring novelists a cautionary tale on the insidious perils of hype

Betjeman honoured

The actress Joanna Lumley (above) led readings of Sir John Betjeman's poetry at the unveiling of a stone tablet to the late poet laureate in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Heaney on prize shortlist

Seamus Heaney and Adrian Mitchell are among 10 poets on the shortlist for the pounds 5,000 T S Eliot prize, announced yesterday. Judges Andrew Motion, Helen Dunmore and Ruth Padel picked the list of the 10 best collections of the year, and will also choose the eventual winner, to be announced on 13 January.
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