Denise O'Hagan

Denise O’Hagan is an award-winning editor and poet, born in Rome and based in Sydney. She has a background in commercial book publishing in Routledge, Collins and Heinemann (London) and Horwitz, Cambridge University Press and the State Library of NSW (Sydney). In 2015 she set up her own imprint, Black Quill Press, to publish her late mother’s historical novel Jerome & His Women (2015), shortlisted for the inaugural Institute of Professional Editors’ Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Award (the ‘Rosie’).
She edited and published A Roman Death (2017) and Chinese Whispers: In Search of Ivy (2018), and is co-editor of poetry anthology Messages from the Embers: From Devastation to Hope (2020). She is also the author of the Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation (Black Quill Press, 2018) and poetry collection The Beating Heart (Ginninderra Press, 2020).
Her poetry is published widely both in Australia and overseas, including in Antipodes, Eureka Street, Quadrant, Not Very Quiet, Books Ireland, The Ekphrastic Review and The Copperfield Review. Among her awards are the Dalkey Poetry Prize (first prize), the Sutherland Shire Literary Competition (second prize) and the International Proverse Poetry Prize, Hong Kong (third prize), and she has been shortlisted in the Robert Graves Poetry Prize, the Australian Catholic University Poetry Prize and the Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize. Some of her work has been translated into Spanish. She was also Poetry Editor for Australia/New Zealand for Irish literary journal The Blue Nib.

Author's books



True to its title, the poems in O’Hagan’s second poetry collection, Anamnesis, allude to a world hovering at the edges of our minds, one that can be sensed and yet lies, teasingly, just beyond conscious reach. The arc of poems through time and distance represents a summoning up of, and immersion in, small moments which reveal themselves to be quietly momentous; a distillation of personal experience from which we feel there is something to be collectively gleaned. The recovery of memory in its various facets is explored, and the poetry that emerges is both poignant and lyrical.

Finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Award (US) (Poetry Category), 2023.

Shortlisted in the Rubery Book Award (UK) (Poetry Category), 2023

Finalist in the Eyelands Book Awards (Greece) (Poetry Category), 2023