Katie Donovan Radio & Press Interviews

Katie Donovan Radio & Press Interviews

‘It’s been a long while since a collection has moved me quite so much and took me upon such a switchback ride from antipathy to admiration to respect… This is a harrowing, heart-breaking and necessary book to which I cannot do justice in a few hundred words.’ – Martin Malone, Poetry Ireland Review [on Off Duty]


Katie Donovan's fifth book of poetry Off Duty was published by Bloodaxe in 2016.  It was shortlisted for the Irish Times–Poetry Now Award 2017.  Katie Donovan was awarded the 21st Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award in April 2017.  Katie's sixth poetry book May Swim was published by Bloodaxe in May 2024.



Yorkshire Times, Poem of the Week, online 20 April 2024

The title poem from Katie Donovan’s fifth book of poetry Off Duty was featured as Steve Whitaker’s Poem of the Week in the online regional newspaper the Yorkshire Times of 20 April 2024. The poem was accompanied by Steve’s thoughtful commentary.

‘Katie Donovan’s fine poem of disordered grief yields an honest approximation to that strange, unanticipated state of numbness that follows close on bereavement.’ – Steve Whitaker, Poem of the Week, Yorkshire Times


Katie Donovan’s poem ‘Winter Heroes’ from Off Duty was featured on posters on DART trains in Ireland to mark Poetry Day Ireland (25 April 2024).  The 2024 theme was Good Sport.



The Gloss, Writer’s Block Interview, online Friday 20 April 2018

Interview with Katie Donovan in the online edition of The Gloss magazine’s Writer’s Block feature.  She spoke to Sophie Graham about finding time to write, meeting the Irish President and her fifth collection Off Duty.

Click here to read.


The Attic Sessions #10: In Conversation with Katie Donovan, January 2017

Katie Donovan was interviewed by Nessa O’Mahony for the tenth in a series of video interviews, The Attic Sessions. This 40-minute podcast went online in January.  Katie spoke in depth about her new collection Off Duty and read the poems ‘Arrival’ and ‘Operation’ from it. 

Since the interview went online, Katie Donovan has been named as the next recipient of the prestigious American prize honouring Irish poets, the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award.  Her , and her fifth collection Off Duty has also been shortlisted for the Irish Times-Poetry Now Award 2017.

‘This month we are joined in the attic by Irish poet Katie Donovan, who talks to us about her career as a writer. She also reads some poems from her latest poetry collection Off Duty (Bloodaxe, 2016).’

Click here to watch the interview. Katie Donovan speaks about Off Duty and reads two poems from it at 23.45.



The Poetry Programme, RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 29 October 2016 at 7:30 pm

A twelve-minute interview with Katie Donovan ran on The Poetry Programme on 29 October.  She was talking to Rick O’Shea about her newly-published fifth collection  Off Duty.  They spoke about the main subject of the book – the illness of her long-term partner, the difficulties of being a Carer, the solace to be found in both writing and reading poetry.  She read the poems ‘Still Well’, ‘Falling’ and ‘Millefeuille’ from Off Duty

Click here to listen (1st item)


RTE Culture, RTÉ website, Poem of the Week, online 26 October 2016

Poem of the Week on the RTE Culture page is 'Still Well' by Katie Donovan from her moving new collection Off Duty. Audio clip of Katie reading the poem taken from an interview with her broadcast on The Poetry Programme on Saturday 29 October at 7.30pm.

‘Katie’s powerful new collection charts the years of her husband’s throat cancer and death in poems that are searingly honest about grief and guilt. Other poems celebrate the joy of motherhood and moments of family life with her children.’

Click here to read the feature


Outlook, BBC World Service, Wednesday 12 October 2016, 12.06-1pm

A very moving interview with Irish poet Katie Donovan went out on the BBC World Service's Outlook programme on 12 October. She was speaking to Matthew Bannister about the poems she wrote about her late husband’s cancer, which have now been published in her fifth collection Off Duty.  She read the poems ‘The Next Exit’ and ‘‘Will You Be There?’’, which is written partly in her son’s voice. The interview was recorded down the line from Dublin.

Click here to listen (forward to 35.54 to hear Katie Donovan)



The Belfast Telegraph, Wednesday 2 November 2016

An interview with Katie Donovan ran in the Belfast Telegraph ahead of her Belfast launch of her new collection Off Duty on 17 November at No Alibis Bookstore. 

‘Poet Katie Donovan's latest book Off Duty, to be launched in Belfast next week, reflects the heartbreaking loss of her husband Stephen Sensbach who died of throat cancer five years ago.’:
Click here to read


‘Throughout the collection, Donovan’s voice remains relatable, despite her extraordinary circumstance. She does not romanticise death, or the dying; nor does she make excuses for any ugliness she finds within herself. Yet in ascribing such a tapestry of thoughts and feelings to trauma, she is able to tenderly replicate her experience in all its contradictions; in both its darkness and its light. Off Duty is certainly an account of grieving, for the dead and the dying, but it’s also a study of those who go on living, and who, in time, will thrive again.’ – Julia O’Mahony, Dublin Review of Books

Click here to read Julia's full essay-review of Off Duty in Dublin Review of Books


[12 July 2018]

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