Winners announced for Cúirt New Writing Prize
Art//Culture//Festivals

Winners announced for Cúirt New Writing Prize

The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is delighted to announce the winners of The Cúirt New Writing Prize and to welcome both writers to this year’s festival in April! Find out more here...

Each winner receives a €500 prize and will be given the chance to read at the New Writing Showcase, as part of Cúirt International Festival of Literature, on 5th April at 11am in the Mick Lally Theatre. This prize is kindly sponsored by Tigh Neachtain in memory of Lena McGuire.

The judges this year are Poet Gail McConnell (poetry), novelist Lisa McInerney (short fiction) and Siobhán Ní Dhomhnaill (Irish Language).

The Winning Submission for the Fiction category is:
“Welcome to the World” by Shane Murphy
This year’s fiction judge, Lisa McInerney wrote: "A character study that's compassionate and raw, and a reflection on yearning and identity that was moving and surprising. This isn't the most polished work on the longlist, but to me it was the most promising. I felt the writer was at once curious and distanced enough from their protagonist to convey a memorable story. A sign, I think, of a gift for words and for people."
Writer Shane Murphy said; "Thank you to Cúirt Festival and Lisa McInerney for this prize, and to Caoilinn Hughes, Fiachra Kelleher and Eimear Ryan for encouraging early drafts of this story"

Siobhán Flynn

The Winning Submission for the Poetry category is:
“I’m Trying to Write a Poem About an Angel” by Siobhán Flynn
This year’s poetry, judge Gail McConnell wrote: "Often the test of a true poem is the reader’s desire to return to it again and again. I liked this poem when I read it first, but I noticed that I kept re-reading it, and each time I did, I noticed something new. It’s a poem that knows what it’s about – and it’s about a state of unknowing. The poem is asking what it is to be a self and what it is to be a body, and to try to answer its questions it looks beyond the binaries of gender (male and female), and presence (natural and supernatural), hoping ‘to find the right form’. It’s a poem after Analicia Sotelo’s I’m Trying to Write a Poem about a Virgin and It’s Awful, so it’s playing with imitation in its form as well as in its subject. It sets up a pair of relationships: of the poem with its influence, and of ‘I’ with ‘they’. There’s a lot about it to enjoy – humour, clear diction, good line endings and a self-consciousness about the whole strange endeavour of living and writing – but it’s the ending I marvel at... Wonderful!"
Poet Siobhán Flynn said; "Winning the 2022 Cúirt New Writing Prize is exhilarating. Writing is such a solitary thing, even more so during the last couple of years, sometimes it feels as if you’re writing into a void and your words are drifting away and disappearing like smoke so it really makes a difference when your work is recognised. This has gladdened my heart and invigorated my poetry muscles, I’m ready to take on that empty page again. Thanks to Gail McConnell and to everyone at Cúirt who makes this festival happen."

Cúirt New Writing Prize

Notable Mentions/Shortlisted Submissions for fiction include “Electric Ink” by Paula Dias Garcia and “Fallow” by Serena Lawless, about which Lisa McInerney writes; "With its unflinching exploration of decline both physical and emotional, its bitter empathy, and its skilful descriptions of uncomfortable physical reality."

The Cúirt International Festival of Literature runs from 4th to 10th April 2022. Find out more on their website here.