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Leland Bardwell

Leland Bardwell

Leland Bardwell

Born in India, to Mary (née Collis) and William Patrick Hone (known as Pat), Leland Bardwell grew up in Leixlip, County Kildare. She was educated at Alexandra School and later at the University of London. Living at times in Paris, London, Scotland, Kilkenny, Dublin and Monaghan, she settled in Sligo in 1991. 

From adolescence until the 1970s her life was turbulent, she immersed herself in literary and artistic circles in Soho, London, and Dublin, befriending such figures as Robert MacBryde and Robert Colquhuon, Patrick Kavanagh, and in Dublin, John Jordan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods, Pearse Hutchinson, Michael Hartnett, James Liddy, Hayden Murphy, Paul Durcan, Neil Jordan and many others involved in poetry, prose and theatre.

Embracing a very unconventional approach to life, she had seven children by a number of different men. She married once, to Michael Bardwell. She brought to her poetry, plays and prose a clear and unsentimental empathy for those marginalised by their gender, poverty, lack of education or emotional injuries, and the work was informed by the life without being self-regarding.

As well as the five collections of poetry included in this volume, she published five novels, a book of short stories, a memoir, and had four stage plays and a number of radio plays produced. Unpublished work includes more stories and a novella, published in 2022 by Doire Press, six other plays never produced, a TV film adaptation, a feature film script based on the hiring fairs, and a libretto written for Siobhán Cleary’s opera, Jack Ashore.

Her prose and poetry was translated into German, Polish, Spanish, French, Albanian and Turkish.

Leland Bardwell was active in publishing: a co-founder of Cyphers, one of the longest running poetry magazines in the world, she also was a member of the Irish Writers’ Co-operative in the mid 1970s, and was centrally involved in the Scríobh Literary Festival in the 1990s-2000s. She was a founding member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy for creative artists.

Titles by Leland Bardwell

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