Deirdre Cartmill is a poet, writer and writing mentor based in Belfast.

Her latest poetry collection The Return of the Buffalo was published by Lagan Press in 2013. Her debut collection Midnight Solo was published in 2004.

The Return of the Buffalo deals with grief and loss, and attempts to make sense of the seemingly meaningless, but this is always weighted with how suddenly, unexpectedly joyous life can be. Midnight Solo is written from the perspective of a generation who grew up through the conflict in the north of Ireland and their struggle to envision a new normality in a post-conflict society.

She received an ACES Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2011 and spent a year affiliated with the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s, University, Belfast where she started work on her third collection. She has received six Literature Awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, been shortlisted for a Hennessy Literary Award and been a finalist in the Scottish International Poetry Competition. Her poetry has been widely published and anthologised.

She has given many poetry readings at events and festivals, such as at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris, the first Muldoon’s Picnic outside New York at the John O’Connor Writing School, City of Culture, Donostia, in the Basque Country, the Belfast International Arts Festival, and the Belfast Book Festival.

She is one of the originating artists on the Corners European project Bridging The Silence – an audio walk and installation shown on pedestrian bridges that tells the stories of survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, political violence and transgender issues. It mixes Deirdre’s poetic narration with real life testimonies, sounds and music. The project toured Europe and was shown in Croatia, Poland, Slovenia, the Basque Country, England and Belfast.

She’s also an award winning screenwriter and has written for theatre, film, television and radio.

Her play The Lost Souls Party toured N. Ireland as part of Terra Nova’s Arrivals 2 production in spring 2015 and her play No Paths That Are Ending toured Northern Ireland as part of Terra Nova’s Arrivals production in spring 2014. Her first full length play was longlisted for both the Papatango New Writing Prize 2017 and the Old Vic 12 in 2016. Her short film Two Little Boys was selected for The Belfast Film Festival 2013.

She has written for RTE’s Fair City and award winning Irish teen drama Seacht. She was a top ten finalist in the inaugural Red Planet Prize, won the Claddagh Films Script Award and was a winner in the BBC Writersroom Undercover competition for staff. She was one of 12 writers from across the UK selected for Channel 4’s Screenwriting Course in 2011.

She has also had short fiction published.

She holds an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, Belfast. She was the Irish Writers Centre Community Writer in Residence at Womens Aid 2018, Artist in Residence at The Belfast International Arts Festival 2017, and a Writer-in-Residence at the Belfast Book Festival 2011, An Creagan, Omagh and MacNeice House, Belfast.

She is a sought after writing mentor and an experienced creative writing workshop facilitator. She runs One to One Mentoring Programmes and Heartfelt Writing Workshops and you can read more details of these on the Work With Me page of this site. She is part of Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools scheme. She has facilitated workshops for the BBC, Poetry in Motion, Big Telly Theatre Company, Artscare, Libraries NI, Monaghan Libraries and the WEA. She has also facilitated many creative writing workshops for writers’ groups, community groups and stigmatised and hard to reach groups. Contact Deirdre on to find out more.

You can view videos of her tips on writing on the BBC’s Get Writing website.

She co-commissioned the first Poetry Jukebox in Ireland alongside Maria McManus, and co-curated the first two presentations of this on-street sound installation of poetry, from Ireland and other places. You can listen to the Poetry Jukebox outside the Crescent Arts  Centre in Belfast.



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