Monday 23 October 2017

‘It takes courage to be a writer’ - Listowel Writers’ Week opens for entries

The late John B Keane
The late John B Keane

Listowel has become one of the literary capitals of Ireland with its annual writers’ week – the longest running literary festival in Ireland.

The Kerry Group  Novel of the Year Award, worth €15,000, and The Pigott Prize, worth €5,000, are among the valuable prizes this year.

Other competitions include:

  • The Eamon Keane Full Length Play Award,
  • The Poetry Collection Competition,
  • The Irish Post New Writing Competition,
  • The Nilsson Local Heritage Writing Competition,
  • Con Houlihan Young Sports Journalist Award,
  • Kerry County Council Creative Writing Competitions for Youth,
  • Creative Writing for Special Educational Needs and Writing in Prisons Competition

Announcing the competitions, festival chairman Seán Lyons said: “When Patrick Kavanagh penned the words, ‘There is the source from which all cultures rise, there is the pool in which the poet dips,’ he could well have been referring to the literary competitions at Listowel Writers’ Week.”

“The competitions are the opportunity to add to the well of culture, to dip into that pool and to give wings to your creativity.”

Mr Lyons used John B Keane’s words “It takes courage to be a writer”.

“It takes courage to present your writing for adjudication and it takes nerves of steel to await the outcome of that adjudication. It is all part of the journey of the writer.”

“We at Listowel Writers’ Week invite you to share that journey with us and take part in our internationally recognised competitions.”

This year, for the first time, you are invited to submit your entries online for a number of the competitions.

These are The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, Duais Foras Na Gaeilge, The Single Poem Competition and the Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Competitions.

Meanwhile, headlining this year’s workshop programme are international award winning authors Alex Preston and Lucy Caldwell.

Ms Caldwell will explore the themes of love, sex and death in Creative Writing Advanced.

Nuala Ní Chonchuir will direct Short Fiction; Martina Devlin, Creative Writing – Getting Started; William Wall, Novel Getting Started, John McAuliffe, native of Listowel but now teaching in Manchester University will mentor in Poetry Getting Started; Peter Fallon, Poetry Advanced; Dr Eibhear Walshe, Non-Fiction & Memoir, Mary Russell, Travel Writing and Jimmy Murphy, Writing for Theatre.

Places on workshops are limited to 15 and can be booked online through

Listowel Writers’ Week will celebrate its 44th Festival this year. Listowel, North Kerry is the birthplace of many of Ireland’s prominent writers past like John B Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Seamus Wilmot, Brendan Kennelly, Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Maurice Walsh.

Listowel Writer's Week will take place from May 27 to 31.

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