Aoife Lyall Readings

Aoife Lyall Readings

'Mother, Nature by Aoife Lyall was an incredibly powerful book. It was extremely moving to read it.' - Vincent Lal, Co-Judge, Scottish First Book Award, Scotland's National Book Awards 2021


Inverness-based Irish poet Aoife Lyall's debut collection was published by Bloodaxe on 25 February 2021.  The poems of Mother, Nature follow the poet’s own experience of motherhood, from the trauma of pregnancy loss, to the overwhelming joy of a healthy birth. Her courageous, searing but tender poems of loss are deeply affecting – all the more so because of her understated language and formal control. As well as being shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards in 2018 and 2016, Aoife Lyall was awarded an Emerging Scottish Writer residency by Cove Park in 2020.  Mother, Nature was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award in Scotland's National Book Awards 2021.

A video of Aoife's Bloodaxe launch event in February 2021 is below, as is her Irish launch reading with West Cork Literary Festival from 29 April 2021.  She also gave in-person readings at festivals in Scotland, England and Ireland in October 2021 at Ness Book Festival, Cheltenham Literature Festival and Red Line Book Festival in Dublin. In November she took part in the online Poetry in Aldeburgh Irish poets finale, alongside Séan Hewitt, Victoria Kennefick and fellow Bloodaxe poet Róisín Kelly.  All four had published debut collections during the pandemic.


Bookanista featured two of the poems from Mother, Nature ahead of the launch reading on 23 February 2021.  Read the poems here
Aoife Lyall's beautiful poem 'Silt' was featured in Books Ireland's 'poetry happening' column on 21 April, along with a video of Aoife reading the poem recorded especially for this feature. Read the poem and watch the film here (video posted below).
‘Aoife Lyall’s collection Mother, Nature arrives with a magisterial maturity that belies its status as a first book-length offering… A remarkable debut from a strong talent.’ - Éamon Mag Uidhir, Dublin Review of Books.   Read this essay review in full here.

An interview with Aoife Lyall has gone online in What's On North ahead of the National Book Awards ceremony on 27 November 2021.  Read here.



Thursday 29 April 2021, 7:00 pm, West Cork Literary Festival

Unlaunched: Martina Evans, Victoria Kennefick and Aoife Lyall

A special event with Martina Evans, Victoria Kennefick and Aoife Lyall in conversation with Séan Hewitt and John McAuliffe from the Unlaunched Books podcast to mark Poetry Day Ireland.

Aoife Lyall read poems from her debut poetry collection Mother, Nature and joined the discussion afterwards. It was especially interesting to hear her speak to John McAuliffe about the joys and benefits to be gained from reviewing other poets' work, given that all five poets taking part in the event are reviewers - John, Martina and Séan with The Irish Times, and Victoria with the Unlaunched Books podcast.

'These are really moving, lyric poems. They explore pregnancy, loss, motherhood and the disorientating world of hospitals.  In the tradition of Rebecca Goss and Leanne O'Sullivan, Aoife's poems are built word by word, carefully, until we reach a volta, or a turn, and the speaker gestures downwards, and we can see that there's a chasm beneath these poems.  There's also light and tenderness, and this is the scaffolding which Aoife builds across that chasm to help us understand things as big and as mind-boggling as love, grief and loss.  They're incredibly intimate poems, and they're intricately formed.' - Séan Hewitt, introducing Mother, Nature

Séan Hewitt introduced Aoife at 18:58, and the discussion part of the event began at 41:22.


Saturday 1st May 2021, 2pm, The Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival

Home in Our Bodies: Reading & Workshop

Aoife Lyall (Bloodaxe) and Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet) gave readings from their body-focused debut collections, followed by a generative workshop.  The event was streamed live on 1 May 2021, and is now on YouTube. 

Aoife began by reading some poems from Mother, Nature, then Victoria read from her debut Eat or We Both Starve. This was followed by a short generative workshop.

'Was an incredible powerful event, a reading and a workshop activity. It was joy to discover the brave, honest voice of Aoife Lyall and the equal depth of Victoria Kennefick’s poetry.' - Nina Lewis, AWritersFountain.  Read her blog on the Stay at Home! Literary Festival here.



Aoife Lyall reads her poem 'Silt' from Mother, Nature in a film she made especially for Books Ireland.  Read the poem on their 'poetry happening' feature here.


Tuesday 23 February 2021, joint launch event with Fleur Adcock, Tiffany Atkinson and Susan Wicks

Livestreamed event launching four new collections by Bloodaxe poets, all of whom were publishing new collections in February 2021. Aoife Lyall read third in each set (she is introduced by Editor Neil Astley at 19:40). The readings were followed by a very engaging discussion and Q&A with the online audience.


‘The Wanderers’: a film poem by Ted Fisher after a poem by Aoife Lyall

The cover picture of Mother, Nature is a still from The Wanderers (2018), a film poem directed and produced by Ted Fisher in collaboration with Magma and the University of Edinburgh.

Aoife Lyall writes: ‘The most significant thing I learned was that the poem isn’t so much about welcoming my daughter into my life, as allowing myself to finally call Inverness home. I lived here for almost six years before she was born, and spent much of that comparing my life here to the life I had in Dublin. Walking the poem with Ted I came to realise it encapsulated what I had been missing – the accumulation of memories, moments, and experiences that layer themselves into the familiar.'  'The Wanderers' is included in Mother, Nature.


Aoife Lyall's poems ‘Acrania’ and ‘Hermit Crab’ were shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards in 2018 - both are now included in her debut collection. A recording of Aoife reading ‘Hermit Crab’ is on the title page for Mother, Nature (click on ‘related audio’); the poems were featured in The Irish Times of 28 January 2017 - read them here.

[04 February 2021]

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