Jane Clarke was born in 1961 and grew up on a farm in Co. Roscommon. She lives with her wife in Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow, where she combines writing with her work as a creative writing tutor and group facilitator. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin, and an MPhil in Writing from the University of South Wales, and has a background in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Her first collection, The River, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015. It was the first poetry title to be shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, given for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place. In 2016 she won the Hennessy Literary Award for Emerging Poetry and the inaugural Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year Award. She was awarded an Arts Council of Ireland Literary Bursary in 2017.
Her second book-length collection, When the Tree Falls (Bloodaxe Books, 2019), was shortlisted for the 2020 Pigott Poetry Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2020, as well as being longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize 2020. Her third book-length collection, A Change in the Air (Bloodaxe Books, 2023), was longlisted for The Laurel Prize 2023 and shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023 and the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023.
In 2019 Jane edited Origami Doll, New and Collected Shirley McClure (Arlen House, 2019) and guest-edited The North 61: Irish Issue (The Poetry Business, 2019) with Nessa O’Mahony. Her illustrated anthology Windfall: Irish Nature Poems to Inspire and Connect (Hachette Books Ireland, 2023), edited by Jane Clarke & illustrated by Jane Carkill, was published on 1 November 2023. Coracle, a limited edition booklet of ten poems responding to biodiversity loss and restoration, was commissioned and published by MoLI, Museum of Literature Ireland, in 2023.
In May 2020 Jane Clarke presented The Miners' Way, a half-hour feature for BBC Radio 4 that was chosen for Radio 4's Pick of the Week. This included a new sequence of poems now included in her third collection A Change in the Air, which also includes some poems from All the Way Home (Smith|Doorstop, 2019), her illustrated booklet of poems in response to a First World War family archive held in the Mary Evans Picture Library, London.
Jane Clarke received the Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award 2022, which will enable her to undertake a collaborative writing project with sheep farmer and author James Rebanks on his fell farm in the Lake District, Cumbria.
Author photo: Elementum
Books by Jane Clarke