Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939, and educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College, Dublin, where he earned his degree in Classics. He worked as a schoolteacher in Dublin, London, and Belfast before joining the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, where he served over twenty years as Director for Literature and the Traditional Arts.
He is married to the critic Edna Longley and has three children.He has received numerous awards, including the American Irish Foundation Award, the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, the Whitbread Prize, and the Hawthornden Prize. He is also the recipient of the prestigious 2001 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.