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

This prize is kindly sponsored by Tigh Neachtain in memory of Lena McGuire.

The winners will read at the New Writing Showcase, Tuesday, 23 April 2024, 5:30pm, The Mick Lally Theatre, FREE / TICKETED

This year we we were honoured to have Sara Baume as the short fiction judge, Elaine Feeney as the poetry judge, and Doireann Ní Ghríofa as the Irish language poetry and short fiction judge.

Emily Iseult Duggan lives in Donegal, where she writes, cooks and makes art. In 2021, she self-published ‘The Eaters’, an art-book in collaboration with survivors of the Direct Provision system. Since 2021, she has worked with Jennie Moran in her long-term art project ‘Luncheonette’, creating sculptural food and hospitality encounters through the alchemy of placemaking. Her short stories have been published in An Capall Dorcha and Sans. Press anthologies, and she participated in the 2023 Stinging Fly Summer School. She is Channel Magazine’s 2024 intern.
Comment from Judge – A piece full of elegantly composed feeling that speaks very movingly to this particular moment in time and collective consciousness.
Comment from Winner – I am delighted to hear that ‘Arabic Lessons’ has won the 2024 Cúirt New Writing Prize. I am truly flattered that it has been chosen and hope that it will resonate with readers at this point in time.

‘Arabic Lessons’ is a story about privilege. I would like to use the privilege of this platform to urge my fellow members of the Irish literary community to continue talking about Palestine, to amplify Palestinian voices, and to persist in putting pressure on the Irish government, EU and USA to bring about a permanent and immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and to end the brutal, illegal military occupation of Palestine.

Lucy Holme is a poet, PhD candidate and mother who lives in Cork. Her work has appeared in PN Review, PIR, The Stinging Fly, The London Magazine, Poetry Wales, Banshee, The Pig’s Back and Southword amongst others. She was shortlisted for The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2023 and was also a runner up in the Southword Subscriber’s poetry competition, Southword Literary Essay Competition and Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition 2023. She was a finalist for this year’s Fool For Poetry Chapbook Competition from Munster Literature Centre. Her debut chapbook, Temporary Stasis (Broken Sleep 2022) was shortlisted for The Patrick Kavanagh Award and a collection of essays is forthcoming from Broken Sleep Books in Autumn 2024. She is the co-editor of Cork-based journal The Four Faced Liar.

Comment from Judge – I thought it was off kilter and fun, smart and also full of loneliness and isolation, and it really grabbed me

Comment from Winner – It is difficult to express exactly what winning this prize means to me. I have long admired Cúirt Festival and what it stands for, so to be included in a gathering that over the years has featured writers I love so much, and to be recognised for my work by a poet of the calibre of Elaine Feeney is truly life-changing and a highlight of my writing career so far.

Is scríbhneoir ó Iarthar Chorcaí í Hannah Ní Chonghaile atá ag cur fúithi i gCorca Dhuibhne. Scríobhann sí idir ghearrscéalta agus splancscéalta agus chomh maith scríobhann sí go rialta don iris Nós.
Hannah Ní Chonghaile is a writer from West Cork who lives in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. She writes short stories and flash fiction and regularly contributes to the magazine Nós.
Comment from JudgeTá goimh ar an ngaoth a shéideann tríd an sceal seo, mar a chruthaítear an t-uafás teannais don phríomhphearsa, teannas a mheadaítear diaidh ar ndiaidh i dtreo buaicphointe a thagann aniar aduaidh ar an léitheoir. Scéal ana-chorraitheach go deo, a léiríonn ábaltacht, stíl agus bua scríbhneoireachta an údar chumasaighg seo.

Comment from Winner – Go raibh míle, míle maith agaibh as an nduais seo. Mar scríbhneoir nua, bíonn tú ag nochtadh tú féin i slí ar leith nuair a chuireann tú do chuid scríbhneoireachta fé bhráid duine eile. Is pribhléid é nuair a thógann éinne an t-am chun do shaothar a mheas agus is onóir domsa é gur léigh Doireann Ní Ghríofa, atá ar na húdair is fearr liom, mo scéal, gan trácht ar an nduais. Tugann sé misneach agus ardú croí dom gur deacair cur síos air. Mo bhuíochas léi agus le lucht eagartha na Féile, agus chomh maith leis na daoine ar fad a chabhraíonn liom i gcónaí ar m’aistear scríbhneoireachta.

Highly Commended Entries with comments:

Stephen Good, 1st Prize in the Halloween Festival Scarecrow Competition
A blackly hilarous story with a delicious twist.
Eamon McGuinness, Before Lunch
A gentle yet subtly powerful story, faultlessly written and perfectly formed.
Theo Hynan-Ratcliffe, Aftermatter; On the lip of the bowl 
An unusual and astutely observed piece about nature, materiality and time.
Virginia Marshall, The Brain Elastic
A very nicely paced and placed story, full of brilliant dialogue.
Claire-Lise Kieffer, Fire Alarm
This is a beautiful and poignant poem. I loved the interweaving of the story of the fire in the poets life, juxtaposed with the horrors of war. The language is controlled and the tone is patient, there is a maturity of approach in this poem. I loved it–I loved the form and the layout. There is a wonderful use of metaphor that felt refreshing and original.
Mia Vance,
This was a very inventive and powerful poem, engaging and capable of reflecting experience in a creative way. The layout was fresh and the form was striking and original. This is a very important voice – dealing sensitively with a deeply moving message. I think the poet has a real talent, and I encourage them to continue writing. The ending was particularly illuminating and I was deeply moved.
Finola Cahill, The Death of the Foal
This poem deeply affected me. I thought the control of language and emotion was outstanding. It was dealiing with so much on the line, the death of the foal, the parents away, the loneliness of youth and revealed in snippets, tiny particles about the speaker. This voice is very strong, I thought it was a really magnificent poem, at times off-kilter, at times wry, and very engaging. Keep going, I would love to read more of this poets work. Brilliant.
Seán Ó Muireagáin, Eachtra mhór na Luchóg
Bhí mé ar bís agus ab scéal seo á léamh agam. Cé a shamhlódh go mbeadh saol na luchóg chomh spéisiúil?! Scríbhneoireacht den scoth.
Sinéad Nic Gearailt, Cuimhne dheireannach
Scéal a chuirfeadh tocht ort. Tuisceanach, comhbhách, creathnách, scéal a bhaineadh deoir as an gcloch ghlas.
John Tinneny, Neoidríonónna
Dán ghrá álainn, ceolmhar, le binneas ar leith ann, a sníonn gné den eolaíocht le nasc daonna.
Cian Ó Dubhshláine, Deasghnáth an Earraigh
Is iomaí cor agus casadh sa scéal spleodrach, dea-scríofa seo, ina leantar bean agus í amuigh ag cuardach craicinn.

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