With a finger on the city’s literary pulse

Jenni Doherty. (DER4013PG164)
Jenni Doherty. (DER4013PG164)

Poet Jenni Doherty can add another string to her literary bow this week, having just won the Noelle Vial Tyrone Guthrie Centre Poetry Bursary Award for 2013.

Well known to many in the city, Jenni is nowadays proprietor of Little Acorn Books at Bedlam on Pump Street. But when not selling books, she’s usually writing or publicising them.

Working with Derry publishers Guildhall Press, in various libraries and organising poetry events ensures she’s been a regular fixture in the local literary scene for years now.

Overwhelmed at news of winning the 2013 Poetry Bursary Award, Jenni told the ‘Journal’: “I am totally thrilled and delighted to be chosen as the inaugural Noelle Vial Bursary Award winner from the Donegal County Council and the family of Killybegs poet, Noelle Vial. It’s a great honour indeed and I look forward to spending a week at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre early next to start working on a second collection of work.”

Jenni, who is originally from Greencastle but is based in the city, also expressed her heartfelt thanks to Donegal County Council and the family of Noelle Vial, “for giving myself, and future emerging poets, this wonderful opportunity.”

“Lovely little coincidence is that I also hail from a fishing village and that Noelle’s own poetry collection Promiscuous Winds and my own, Rain Spill, both refer to weather in their titles,” she smiled.

Jenni’s debut collection was published with Guildhall Press in November last year, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

A former founding member and spoken word artist with the Poetry Chicks and the Belfast Poets Touring Group, she now performs as a solo artist and has performed at various festivals and literary events throughout Ireland, the UK, New York and Australia.

But it’s not just poetry that captures Jenni’s passions. She also played project coordinator, editor and contributor to Moments: short stories, poetry and drama (2011), City of Music – Derry’s Music Heritage (2008), Wonderful World of Worders (2007), EVE... A Celebration of Creative Women (2006) and co-author of That Land Beyond (1993), all published by Guildhall Press.

Last night, Jenni introduced the UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at the poet’s only visit to the island of Ireland this year, at a special UK City of Culture event in St Cecilia’s College.