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Award-winning Poet Mary O’Malley Named Villanova University’s Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies

O’Malley, an internationally recognized poet, becomes the University’s 15th Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mary O'Malley

Villanova, Pa. – Mary O’Malley has been named Heimbold Chair and Professor of Irish Studies in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for spring 2013.  Inaugurated in 2000, the Heimbold Chair has become one of the most prestigious Irish Studies positions in the United States. O’Malley is a Connemara poet who has lived and taught in the United States, England, France, and Portugal and currently resides in Moycullen, Galway.

“It was a delightful surprise to be offered the Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova, which has Irish connections that go back a long way, and a strong connection with Irish writers,” O’Malley said. “It is very prominent on our map. I am delighted to be coming, and am looking forward to both teaching and writing at Villanova.”

O’Malley has published seven volumes of poetry over the last 20 years.  Her most recent volume, Valparaiso, was published by Carcanet Press this past year.  O’Malley’s works touch upon themes of transformation, homecoming, and the changes in her native Galway and Western Ireland.  But she has always had an international outlook. The cover of her book A Perfect V has a painting by El Greco from 1595, which is owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

“I always hoped that the El Greco ‘Female Portrait’ on the cover of my book A Perfect V would act as a talisman and somehow draw my destiny back to Philadelphia,” said Professor O’Malley.

Throughout her career, O’Malley has held positions at University College Galway, Manhattanville College, The Irish College in Paris, and several universities and cultural centers in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Portugal, and France.  She has been awarded the Hennessey Prize, the 2009 Lawrence O’Shaughnessey Prize, and numerous Irish Arts Council awards. 

As the Heimbold Professor for the 2013 spring semester, O’Malley will be teaching two undergraduate seminar courses and visiting Irish Studies courses. The courses include a poetry workshop in the Honors program and an Irish Studies and English course on “Place in Irish Literature.”  Students taking these courses will have the enriching experience of close classroom interaction with one of Ireland’s finest voices.  O’Malley will give a public talk and reading of her works on March 21 at 7 p.m. in the President’s Lounge of The Connelly Center.  Click here for more information and background on the Heimbold Chair.

For more information about Villanova’s Irish Studies Program, contact Dr. Joseph Lennon at

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law.  As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.