Sean Hewitt.

Posted by Sue Leonard on Wednesday 26th October 2022

The middle of three brothers, Seán remembers his childhood as a time of freedom.

            “I was a very self-sufficient child. I read a lot, and wandered around, fishing in the stream, or making an ant farm. We were let out to wander for the day.”

His ambition was to be an author, or a marine biologist.

            “I wrote spooky ghost stories, but also had a couple of tanks of fish in my room.”

He was set to study medicine, until a stint of work experience put him off, and he switched to English.

His poetry collection, Tongues of Fire, (2020) won the Laurel Prize and gained three short-listings. A recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award, the Resurgence Prize he also won the Eric Gregory Award.

Seán started writing his memoir for himself, using old diaries, emails and text messages, but then it grew.

“You have to block out the idea that people you know will read it, yet you have to imagine a reader. I imagined an ideal reader; one who is impersonal and non-judgemental.”

Who is Seán Hewitt?

Date of birth:  October1990 in Cheshire.  

Education: Lymm High School, Cheshire; Cambridge University, English; University of Liverpool; MA in the Institute of Irish Studies, and PhD on J.M. Synge.  

Home: Kilmainham. “I moved to Dublin five years ago.”

Family: Mum Deirdre. “She’s from Limerick.”

The Day Job: Teaching Modern British and Irish literature at Trinity College Dublin. “And I review for the Irish Times.”

In Another Life: “If I had a voice I would sing; for me, poetry is a substitute. If I couldn’t write, I’d love to be a gardener.”

Favourite Writers: Gerald Manley Hopkins; Thomas Hardy; Wilkie Collins; Alice Oswald; Kate O’Brien; JM Synge; Daphne Du Maurier.

Second Novel: “It’s looking like a novel.”

Top Tip: Don’t follow trends.

Website:   Twitter: @seanehewitt.

The Debut: All Down Darkness Wide: €17.56 Kindle: €11.92

When Seán met Elias while travelling, he fell headlong into love, and, eventually, moved to Gothenburg to live with him. But Elias’s decent into depression sparks a crisis. Seán then delves into his own history, as well as the queer poets who came before him. Will this give him solace and hope?

The Verdict: It’s rare to read such lyrically haunting prose.

Published in the Irish Examiner on

© Sue J Leonard. 2022.


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