Rita Ann Higgins


Rita Ann Higgins was born in 1955 in Galway, Ireland. She divides her time between Galway and Spiddal. Her first five collections were published by Salmon Publishing. Goddess on the Mervue Bus 1986. Witch in the Bushes 1988 . Goddess and Witch 1990. Philomena’s Revenge 1992 Higher Purchase 1996. Bloodaxe Books published her next three collections. Sunny Side Plucked 1996. An Awful Racket 2001. Throw in the Vowels” New & Selected Poems in May 2005 to mark her 50th birthday. Her plays include: Face Licker Come Home (1991), God of the Hatch man 1992 (1992), Colie Lally Doesn’t Live in a Bucket (1993) Down All the Roundabouts (1999).

The Big Break 2004 (screenplay) The Empty Frame (play inspired by Hanna Greally. 2008) THE PLASTIC BAG (play for radio 2008) She has edited Out the Clara Road: The Offaly Anthology, 1999 Word and Image: a collection of poems from Sunderland Women’s Centre and Washington Bridge Centre. In 2000. She co edited ‘FIZZ’ Poetry of resistance and challenge, an anthology written by young people, in 2004.

She was Galway County’s Writer-in-Residence in 1987, Writer in Residence at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 1994-95, Writer in Residence for Offaly County Council in 1998-99. She was Green Honors Professor at Texas Christian University, in October 2000. Other awards include a Peadar O’Donnell Award in 1989, several Arts Council bursaries ‘Sunny Side Plucked’ was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. She was made an honorary fellow at Hong Kong Baptist University Nov 2006.

She was elected to Aosdána in 1996

“Her poems sharply reflect the Ireland of the 1980s and its inter-locking lives. She is witty and frightening, exposing hidden anxieties or dismissing them to make anarchic fun”
Eilean Ni Chuilleanain

“Exposing the lies, the posturing and petty cruelties of the powerful, these poems tear away the shameful veils of hypocrisy to bite deep into the very bones of contemporary Irish society. Nothing, or no one, is sacred for Rita Ann Higgins. Utterly without artifice or pretension, her voice is at once strong, angry and acid sharp. These are poems of survival and resistance, for a time in which both are difficult.”
Ailbhe Smyth

Goddess on the Mervue Bus, Salmon Poetry, 1986
Witch in the Bushes, Salmon Poetry, 1988
Goddess and Witch, Salmon Poetry, 1990
Philomena’s Revenge, Salmon Poetry, 1992
Higher Purchase, Salmon Poetry, 1996
Sunny Side Plucked New and Selected, Bloodaxe, 1996 - It was awarded a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in 1996.
‘‘An Awful Racket’, Bloodaxe, 2001

God-of the Hatch Man 1990 (staged by Punchbag)
Face Licker Come Home 1991 (staged by Punchbag)
Colie Lally Doesn’t Live in a Bucket 1995
Down all the Roundabouts or (no one is entitled to a view) 1999

The Big Break, 2004