Section Navigation

Husband and wife poets Vona Groarke and Conor O’Callaghan speak March 8 at Appalachian’s Visiting Writers Series

vona6012.jpgBOONE—Poetry is the focus at the March 8 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State University.

Featured will be husband and wife poets Vona Groarke and Conor O’Callaghan. They will speak from 2-3:15 p.m. during the craft talk “White Space: Narrative in Poems” in Plemmons Student Union’s Table Rock Room.


They also will present a reading at 7:30 p.m., also in the student union’s Table Rock Room. Books will be available for sales and signing.

Admission to both events is free and the public is invited. Call (828) 262-2337 for more information or visit

A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and University College, Cork, Groarke has worked in the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway. She and O’Callaghan, co-held the Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies at Villanova University, and during the academic years 2005-06 and 2006-07 are teaching in the English Department at Wake Forest University.

Groarke’s poetry collections include “Shale,” Other People’s Houses” and “Flight,” which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize (UK) in 2002 and winner of the Michael Hartnett Award in 2003. She is published in Ireland by Gallery Press. Wake Forest University published “Flight and Earlier Poems” and “Juniper Street.”

Her poetry prizes include the Hennessy Award, the Brendan Behan Memorial Prize, Strokestown International Poetry Award, the Stand Magazine Poetry Prize, and runner-up in the Times Literary Supplement Poetry Competition (2003).

O’Callagahn was born in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Dundalk, just south of the Irish border.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Patrick Kavanagh Award in 1993, The Rooney Prize Special Award in 1996 and The Times Educational Fellowship in 1997.

O’Callaghan’s first two books were published in Ireland by Gallery Press. Wake Forest University Press published “Seatown,” “Earlier Poems” and “Fiction.”

Apart from poetry, O’Callaghan has written widely on sport, especially soccer and cricket. “One-One,” his comic prose memoir in The Dublin Review about the public furor surrounding Ireland’s involvement in the 2002 football World Cup grew into his book “Red Mist-Roy Keane and the Football Civil War” (Bloomsbury, 2004).

A free shuttle will be available to take audience members to and from the craft talk to the Rivers Street Parking Deck. The shuttle will leave the parking deck at 1:45 p.m. and will depart from the student union traffic circle at 3:20 p.m. Parking is $3 for two hours in the parking deck.

Parking is free on campus after 5 p.m. Parking also is available free of charge after 5 p.m. in the new parking deck on College Street adjacent to Belk Library. For further parking information or a campus map, visit or call the parking and traffic office at (828) 262-2878.

The Visiting Writers Series is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

The series is also supported by the Appalachian State University Foundation; Appalachian’s Offices of Academic Affairs, Multicultural Student Development, and Cultural Affairs; the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Summer Reading Program, the University Bookstore, The Appalachian Journal and The Richard T. Barker Friends of the University Library.

Business sponsors are The Gideon Ridge Inn and The Red Onion Restaurant. Community sponsors include John and Marjorie Idol and The High Country Writers.

The Visiting Writers Series is named in honor of Hughlene Bostian Frank, class of 1968, a member of the university’s board of trustees and generous supporter of Appalachian.


Photo caption 1: Vona Groarke, photo credit: Kenn Bennett/Wake Forest


Photo caption 2: Conor O’Callaghan, photo credit: Kenn Bennett/Wake Forest University