Robert Anthony Welch was born in 1947 in Cork. Educated at University College, Cork and the University of Leeds, he went on to becoming one of Ireland’s literary scholars. He currently is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Ulster. As a scholar his most famous work is The Oxford Commpanion to Irish Literature. He is the general editor for Colin Smythe’s Ulster Monographs series.
As a poet, he has published five volumes: Muskerry (1991), Secret Societies (1997), The Blue Formica (1999), The Evergreen Road (2004) and Constanza (2010).
He has published three books of fiction: The Kilcolman Notebook (1994), Tearmann (in Irish, 1997) and Groundwork (1997). He has also written dramatic pieces, notably the one-man show Protestants (2004), produced by the Belfast-based Ransom Productions.
A book of biographical and critical studies, Japhy Ryder: Ar Shleasaibh Na Mangartan, won the Oireachtes (Ireland's premier Gaelic cultural agency) prize for prize in 2011.
His most recent publication, Kicking the Black Mamba: Life, Death, Alcohol and Death (2012), a memoir of his dead son Egan who drowned in 2007, was published by Darton, Longman and Todd.
Other editorial work included Patrick Galvin: New and Selected Poems(with Greg Delanty, 1996). This volume includes notes and an introduction jointly authored. He also wrote the introduction toRogha Danta/Death in the Land of Youth: New and Selected Poems of Seán Ó Tuama(1997).
Robert Welch died in 2013.