Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on October 9, 1948. He attended Queen's University, Belfast—not long after Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Derek Mahon—and received his degree in English. He worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from 1975 to 1998, when he became a professor of English at Queen's University, Belfast. There, he was appointed Professor of Poetry and Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre in 2003. That same year, he was made an honorary member of the Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association.
Carson authored several books of poetry and prose, and has been recognized for his work in translation. Of his poetry, his U.S. publications include most recently From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations (Wake Forest University Press, 2019), On the Night Watch (Wake Forest University Press, 2010) and For All We Know (Wake Forest University Press, 2008). His 2002 novel Shamrock Tea was longlisted for the Booker Prize, and his translation of The Inferno of Dante Alighieri (Granta Books, 2002) was awarded the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize.
Carson has received several awards, including the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry, the Forward Poetry Prize, and a Cholmondeley Award. He died on October 6, 2019.