Submissions to the New Irish Writing Page surged by nearly 50pc since it began appearing in the Irish Independent last year, with nearly 1,500 manuscripts submitted from all over Ireland and abroad.
Eighteen of the writers who made it through to publication with their short stories or poetry have now been shortlisted for the 41st Hennessy Literary Awards, which will be announced at a reception in the French ambassador's residence on April 24.
The awards are chaired by Ciaran Carty, editor of New Irish Writing since 1988. The judges, who met for the first time earlier this month, are Deirdre Purcell, bestselling author of Falling for a Dancer, and Giles Foden, whose 1998 novel The Last King of Scotland won the Whitbread First Novel Award, and was filmed in 2006, winning Forest Whitaker an Oscar in the title role.
A professor of creative writing at the University of East Anglia and former assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement, Foden is also author of Ladysmith, inspired by letters written by his great grandfather, a British soldier fighting the Boer War in 1899. His mother is a Barton from Tarbert, on the Shannon Estuary, where he spent holidays as a child.
The Hennessy Awards are presented in three categories: First Fiction (for writers publishing their first story), Emerging Fiction (for writers still to publish their first book) and Emerging Poetry (for writers still to publish their first collection).
The winner of each category will receive a Hennessy trophy and €1,500. The New Irish Writer of the Year, chosen from the winners of the three categories, will receive an additional award of €2,500 and a trophy.
The New Irish Writing Page, established by David Marcus in The Irish Press in 1969 and appearing in the Sunday Tribune from 1988-2011, is the longest-running creative writing feature of its kind in any Irish or British newspaper.
Many leading Irish literary figures were first published in New Irish Writing, including Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Deirdre Madden, Frank McGuinness, Dermot Bolger, Joseph O'Connor, Colum McCann, Hugo Hamilton, Mary O'Donnell, Mary O'Malley, Paul Meehan, Vona Groarke, Mick McCormack and Alan Monaghan.
Stories submitted to New Irish Writing should not exceed 2,000 words. Up to six poems may be submitted. There is no entry fee.
Writers whose work is selected for publication receive a payment of €130 for fiction and €65 for poetry.
Entries (with stamped addressed envelope) to Ciaran Carty, New Irish Writing, The Irish Independent, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, along with name, phone number and email address (where available).
Stories and poems may also be emailed to email@example.com
Please indicate previous publications, if any. The page is open to all Irish writers, or writers normally resident in Ireland.