04 Jul 2022

Nenagh writer is the first Irish author to win HSA Merit Book Award

Nenagh writer is the first Irish author to win HSA Merit Book Award

Tipperary author and musician Sean O'Connor: first Irish author to win HSA Merit Book Award

Tipperary writer Sean O’Connor has won the 2022 HSA Merit Book Award for Best Haibun Book published in 2021, for his book Fragmentation.

Based in Kilruane, Mr O’Connor is the first Irish writer to win this award which has been run by the Haiku Society of America since 1975.

Dublin-based poet Amanda Bell came close when she took second place in the Merit Book Award for her title, Undercurrents, in 2017.

Mr O’Connor, who is also a well-known musician, was awarded a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2021.

This enabled him to complete Fragmentation which is published by Alba Publications in London.

Fragmentation is a series of meditations on dementia and the dynamics of memory. Written in the Japanese form, haibun, the book is a combination of prose and haiku, by the author of Let Silence Speak and Even The Mountains; Five Years in a Japanese Village.

Much of this work has been published in journals and anthologies worldwide.

New work is also included, with a total of 34 haibun that, in combination, interweave into a complex tapestry.

Mr O’Connor is the founding editor of The Haibun Journal, the only English language print journal dedicated to the Japanese literary form, haibun.

Fragmentation has been well received by reviewers in America, Britain and New Zealand.

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