Poet and theologian, Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centres around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. Working fluently on the page and in public, Pádraig is a compelling poet and skilled speaker, teacher and group worker.
When BBC journalist William Crawley introduced Pádraig on the stage to deliver a TEDx talk on Story, Crawley said, "He's probably the best public speaker I know."
Ó Tuama’s published work incorporates poetry (Readings from the Book of Exile [longlisted for the Polari Prize 2013]; Sorry for your Troubles), prose (In The Shelter) and theology (Daily Prayer, The Place Between). Poems featured or forthcoming in the following publications or platforms: Poetry Ireland Review, Academy of American Poets, Post Road, Cream City Review, Holden Village Voice, Proximity Magazine, On Being, Gutter, America, and Seminary Ridge Review.
From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community.
A profoundly engaging public speaker, Ó Tuama has worked with groups to explore story, conflict, their relationship with religion and argument, and violence. Using poetry, group discussion and lectures, his work is marked both by lyricism and pragmatism, and includes a practice of evoking stories and participation from attendees at his always-popular lectures, retreats and events.
Ó Tuama has been a featured guest on On Being with Krista Tippett twice, and is a regular broadcaster on radio on topics such as Poetry, Religion in the public square, Loneliness, Conflict and Faith, LGBT inclusion, the dangers of so-called Reparative Therapy, and the value of the Arts in public life. He has broadcasted, recited and been interviewed countless times on RTÉ, BBC (Radio 4, Radios Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland) and Radio National (Australia). His work has been used in Medical Journals, quoted by Princes and used in Atlases and Liturgies.
For Ó Tuama, religion, conflict, power and poetry all circle around language, that original sacrament. In the context of public theology, he takes the received form of biblical texts and explores the civic and artistic dynamics of language, narrative and impact in these stories. He holds a BA Div validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an MTh from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently engaged in a PhD in Theology through Creative Practice (Uni of Glasgow) exploring poetry, Irishness and religion. In addition to these qualifications, Ó Tuama has numerous professional accreditations in conflict, focusing particularly on dynamics of group conflicts.
Endorsements for "Sorry for your Troubles"
“The power of words to wound is also the measure of their power to heal. Pádraig Ó Tuama writes powerful poetry from a place where both the wounds and the healing run deep. His keen eye for the small detail that becomes a healing symbol, his ear for the phrases and cadences of both communities and his ability to weave their phrases and stories, their troubles and recoveries together, produces poetry which speaks of both lamentation and love, embodies both truth and reconciliation.”
— Malcom Guite – poet, literary critic and author of ‘Faith, Hope and Poetry’.
"Deeply moving and thought-provoking poetry which invites readers to let the sacred reach into them touching their vulnerability and opening their hearts."
— Dr. Cecelia Clegg, Theologian, New College, Edinburgh. Co-author of 'Moving Beyond Sectarianism'.
Lyrical, soulful, often achingly honest, Pádraig Ó Tuama’s poetry always brings me home to myself with kindness and compassionate humour. Highly recommended for spiritual travellers in need of a tonic.
— Nick Thorpe – journalist and author of ‘Urban Worrier’ and ‘Adrift in Caledonia’
Pádraig's latest work continues to challenge, provoke and advocate that a better world is not just possible but essential. Honesty, empathy, compassion are the hallmarks of this work from a poet who accepts that he too has a responsibility to help make the world a fairer and better place.
— Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland Assembly.
Endorsements for "Daily Prayer"
...compassionate, contemporary and formally innovative
— Patience Agbabi, poet, author of Telling Tales, former Poet Laureate of Canterbury
Oh I need this book! They find me where I am, and as I am – alive, human, exiled – and resuscitate an ancient way to a true reconciliation within myself, with others, and with a power greater than myself. I do not need to be ashamed.
— Marie Howe, State Poet of New York (2012–2014)
‘Pádraig Ó Tuama invites us to lay our trinkets aside and turn to our treasure.
— Malcom Guite, poet and literary critic, author of Sounding the Seasons and Mariner
Reading Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work is like living inside a prayer.
— James Martin SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage