A poet, fiction writer and librettist, Kevin Ireland grew up in Auckland. He lived in England for 25 years, though he has consistently identified himself as a New Zealand poet. He has published numerous collections of poetry and his first book of prose was released in 1995, followed by his first novel in 1996. He was awarded an OBE for services to literature, and received a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2004.
Kevin Ireland's Literary Cartoons received the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry at the 1979 New Zealand Book Awards.
was awarded the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship in 1987, and the Auckland University Literary Fellowship in 1989.
Ireland's memoir Under the Bridge and Over the Moon (Vintage, 1998) won the Montana Award for History and Biography at the1999 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.
His poetry collection Fourteen Reasons For Writing was published in 2001. Backwards to Forwards (2002), is the second volume of Ireland's autobiography.
Walking the Land (2003) is a collection of forty poems, in which Ireland reflects on his life walking the land of New Zealand literature for most of his seventy years. His three subsequent collections are, Airports and Other Wasted Days (2007), How to Survive the Morning (2008), and Table Talk (2009).
His fourth novel, Getting Away with It (Hazard Press, 2004), is a shrewd, searching and unpredictable romantic comedy about the absurdities we create when we try to tell the truth about our lives.
In 2000 Kevin Ireland was made a DLitt by Massey University, and in 2004 he received a $60,000 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for poetry.
Ireland's nonfiction book, How to Catch a Fish (2005) was published by Awa Press in 2005 as part of its Ginger Series. Packed with glorious fishing stories that will have you laughing out loud, Ireland also gives advice on how to get started and, on a serious note, warns of the effects of over-fishing, which threatens our oceans and rivers. It was followed by an extended essay On Getting Old published by Four Winds Press, also in 2005.
In 2006, Ireland received the A.W. Reed Award for Contribution to New Zealand Literature, recognising him as a writer who has made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand literary community.
Ireland had a poem included in Shards of Silver (Steele Roberts, 2006), a book investigating the interplay between photography and poetry. His fifth novel, The Jigsaw Chronicles, appeared in 2008.
In his most recent work, Table Talk (Cape Catley, 2009), Ireland's poetry collection describes an evolving conversation between friends across a table.
- Kevin Ireland’s bibliography in the Auckland University Library's New Zealand Literature File
- Kevin Ireland’s Books on the Hazard site
- Kevin Ireland on the Awa Press site
- Kevin Ireland in Best New Zealand Poems 2003
- Kevin Ireland on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre site
- Audio by Kevin Ireland on the Jam Radio site