The Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year 2023 Shortlist

The Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year 2023 Shortlist

We are absolutely delighted to announce the poetry shortlist for the Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year 2023, in association with An Post Irish Book Awards.

Many entries were received again this year for the Irish Poem of the Year 2023 poetry competition. Here are our Four Finalist:

Audrey Molloy

Owen Gallagher

Theodore Deppe

Mary O’Donnell


To the first, a brass Zippo inlaid with the faint cartography

of our nakedness;

the second, a maidenhair fern, the lacy fronds of which
have graced the windowsills of every life I’ve lived;

to the third, a cloud confected from the contents
of a beachball, which is to say, nothing at all;

the fourth, two birds—Guilt and Regret: an ibis that pecks

and an emu that ruptures your gut with its toe;

to the fifth, a bouquet of dock, nettles and dandelion clocks

tied up with a Gordian knot;

the sixth, a biopsy of my shallow heart, taken by pine needle

from the chamber with the trapped hummingbird;

and to you, Great Love, I leave a radio—a crystal set

of galena and copper—fine-tuned to eternity.


Poet:  Audrey Molloy

Published: The Weekend Australian

Date: 24th June 2023

Publisher: Jaya Savige (poetry editor for The Australian)


They sat at a reserved table, by the sea,

with a white linen tablecloth, napkins,

glasses for water and wine, an elderly couple.

She could have been on the front cover of Vogue.

He could have done with a fashion makeover.

Silence was their main course. The sky

was barely blue. The sun was setting. The sea calm.

He started to cry and couldn’t stop.

She tried to comfort him. Then she started to cry.

The waiter stood by. The manager stood by.

Cutlery and glasses were suspended in mid-air

as we all stared. When they had cried

themselves dry, the waiter brought their bill.

They left hand-in-hand. The moon was in the sky.


Poet:  Owen Gallagher

Published: Poetry Ireland Review 139

Date: April 2023

Publisher: Poetry Ireland


“…to unpath’d waters, undream’d shores.”

A Winter’s Tale, Act 4, Scene 4

Frost warning, so into their beds
tuck the lettuce and spinach. Feel the cold
through the legs of our jeans.

We are leaving. We won’t get to taste
this growth but it must be protected,
we planted it, we must give it a chance.

Where are we headed? Lettuce, spinach,
we don’t know the least of it.
Even the weeds are luminous

under the Globe Theatre of the moon.
The stars are as unreadable as ever,
but I’d say they are auspicious. I’d say

for the moment we are all safe, (no,
that’s impossible) (yes, but just now it feels
that way, everyone has called,

everyone’s accounted for).
Then the apparition of white cows, mud
over their spectral flanks, a goodbye party

from another townland
that makes us laugh. Startled
when they see us, they continue

down the peninsula. Where
are we headed? To the unpathed,
to the undreamed, to the benedictions

of water and shore. Come inside
and sleep before the journey. The garden—
we must leave it behind—is all tucked in.


Poet:  Theodore Deppe

Published: Atticus Review

Date: 24th February 2023

Publisher: Atticus Books



Poet:  Mary O’Donnell

Published: Fish Publications

Date: July 2023

Publisher: Clem Cairns

Poet’s Bios

Audrey Molloy


Audrey Molloy’s debut collection, The Important Things (The Gallery Press, 2021), was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize and won the Anne Elder Award. She recently launched her second collection, The Blue Cocktail (The Gallery Press, 2023). She has a masters degree in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, Southword, Cyphers, and The Irish Times. She lives in Sydney with her family.

Theodore Deppe


Theodore Deppe fell in love with Ireland when he walked a thousand-mile circle around it when he was 19. In 2000, he and his wife poet Annie Deppe moved to Ireland and became citizens. He has published seven collections of poems: Children of the Air and The Wanderer King with Alice James; Orpheus on the Red Line with Tupelo; Beautiful Wheel, Liminal Blue and Riverlight with Arlen House; and Cape Clear: New and Selected Poems with Salmon). His work has appeared in many journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Poetry Ireland Review, Stinging Fly,

Cyphers, Irish Pages, Crannog, Poetry, Kenyon Review, and Ploughshares. He won a Pushcart Prize and was awarded two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in the US. After working as an RN for twenty years, he switched careers and has taught in Master’s programmes in writing in Ireland, the US, and the UK. He lives in Connemara.

Owen Gallagher


Owen Gallagher was born in Gorbals, Glasgow. He left school at 15 and worked in factories and on building sites, also as a street-sweeper and bus conductor. He lives in London and was a teacher in Southall, London.

He attended the University of London and the University of Glamorgan.

His recent publication is: Clydebuilt, Smokestack Books, England, 2119. Shortlisted for The Scottish Poetry Book of The Year, 2021.

His publications include:

Clydebuilt Smokestack Books, England, 2119. Shortlisted for The Scottish Poetry Book of The Year.

A Good Enough Love, Salmon Poetry, Ireland, 2015. Nominated for the T.S.Eliot Award.

Tea with the Taliban, Smokestack Books, England, 2012.

Sat Guru Snowman, Peterloo Poets, England, 2001, reprinted 2002.

The Sikh Snowman an illustrated (by Fiona Stewart) children’s picture book was published in November 2020 by Culture Matters and reprinted in December 2020.

Mary O’Donnell


Mary O’Donnell has worked professionally as a writer of poetry and fiction for over thirty years, as well as being a creative writing teacher at Maynooth University, Galway University, UCC, on Carlow University Pittsburgh’s MA course in Creative Writing, and at Dublin’s IWC. She has published seventeen books since 1990, most recently the chapbook Outsiders, Always, from Southword Editions, Cork. The first of her four novels, The Light Makers, was an Irish bestseller and her poetry and stories are frequently taught on university courses. A collection of essays on O’Donnell’s work—Giving Shape to the Moment: the Art of Mary O’Donnell—appeared during 2018 with contributions by Spanish and Irish academics and writers. Her poetry has been translated to Hungarian, Spanish and most recently to Portuguese in a bilingual edition from the Brazilian publisher Arte y Lettras. She is an invited participant, reader and lecturer at literary events both in Ireland, Europe and South America. As a writer, she is grateful to have been able to pursue the calling she truly loves. She received a PhD in Creative Writing from UCC in 2019 and since 2001 she has been honoured by membership of Ireland’s affiliation of artists, Aosdána.

Photograph credited to photographer Mark Reddy

Say What You Pay

Say What You Pay

LWW is currently funded by the Arts Council and commits to upholding its Paying the Artist policy.

  • -We pay authors €250 for “in conversation” events

We are upfront about the fees from the first email or phone call regrading an offer of work.

We respect every artist’s right to negotiate upwards on any fee offered.

We ensure that the initial communication reflects the full scope of what an artist is expected and required to deliver, including details of any video or audio recordings that will be made of the event.

Fees are paid within 14 working days of receipt of an invoice that can be emailed on full completion of commissioned or requested work, or an agreed date prior to this.

We cover the cost of travel where the writer is travelling outside their county of residence. We also cover accommodation where the length of travel involved and/or the start time of the event necessitates it.

We ensure that writers copyright is respected, both in terms of moral and economic rights.

We believe in the importance of transparency on matters of pay and working conditions, and that sharing this information publicly is to the benefit of all writers and artists.

Much of the language in the above is borrowed from the Arts Council’s Paying the Artist policy document whose principles we align ourselves with.


Programme Curator for Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

Programme Curator for Listowel Writers’ Week 2023

The Board of Listowel Writers’ Week wishes to engage the services of a programme curator, on a contract for services basis, to devise a literary programme of quality, ambition, and diversity for our 2024 festival which takes place from 29th of May to the 02nd of June inclusively.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is 5pm on 17th July 2023

To Read More about this proposal  – Click Here 

Listowel Writers’ Week Competition Winners 2023

Listowel Writers’ Week Competition Winners 2023

Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award 2023

– Kindly sponsored by Kerry Group PLC

Winner: The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery


  • The Colony by Audrey Magee
  • The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan
  • Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
  • The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery
  • The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman


Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2023                                                                                                     

– Kindly sponsored by Mark Pigott KBE and the Pigott Family

Winner: Company by Tom French


  • Nithy Kasa, Palm Wine Tapper and the Boy at Jericho (Doire Press)
  • Tara Bergin, Savage Tales (Carcanet Press)
  • Tom French, Company (Gallery Press)


Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award                                                            

– Kindly sponsored by Kerry County Council

Winner:  Birth of a Devil Sheep by David McGrath


Poetry Collection                                                                               

– Kindly sponsored by Tim Costello, Profile Developments

Winner: The Wings My Father Made Me by Paul McMahon


Duais Foras na Gaeilge                                              

– Kindly sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge

Winner:  I dTeach na Teanga by Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha


Nilsson Local Heritage Award                                                   

– Kindly sponsored by the Nilsson Family

Winner:  Dublin Castle: From Fortress to Palace by Séan Duffy, John Montague, Kevin Mulligan & Michael O’Neill (Wordwell Press)

Second Prize:  The Forgotten Cemetery: Excavation at Ranelagh, Co. Roscommon – Shane Delainey & Eileen Murphy (Wordwell Press)


Creative Writing for Adults with Learning Difficulties and, or, Disabilities, Award

– Kindly sponsored by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors                                                   

Winner:  The Job by Colm O’Shea


Listowel Writers’ Week would like to sincerely thank all Sponsors who supported this year’s competitions and the many competition entrants who submitted their work.

Listowel Writers’ Week Announce Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2023

Listowel Writers’ Week Announce Shortlist for Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2023

Five Irish novels have been shortlisted for the 2023 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award – one of the most sought-after prizes for Irish Authors, with a shared prize fund of €22,000. 

More than fifty novels were submitted for the award and adjudicators Manveen Rana and Patrick Gale were given the arduous task of whittling these down to a shortlist of five novels on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week. 

Speaking about the adjudication, Patrick Gale said, “From an overflowing laundry basket of goodies we hope we’ve settled on a shortlist that represents the vitality and variety of this year’s submissions, from an erotically charged take on the Troubles to an invigoratingly feminist one on witch-hunts. Here, too, are two brilliant portrayals of Ireland through the eyes of rank outsiders and a third which anatomises the conflicts of small town Irish life with an insider’s merciless eye for detail.” 

Catherine Moylan, Director at Listowel Writers’ Week revealed the shortlist. “Congratulations to the shortlisted authors of 2023 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. We are very grateful to Kerry Group for their support for this award as it helps us promote and celebrate Irish literary talent. Thank you to Manveen and Patrick for compiling a shortlist which showcases a diverse selection of Irish literature. Thanks also to everyone who submitted their novels for this year’s award: it has been clear to all involved that the state of writing in Ireland is as healthy as ever.” 

The five shortlisted novels are: 

The Colony by Audrey Magee 

The Geometer Lobachevsky by Adrian Duncan 

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy  

The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery 

The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman 

The overall winner of the €20,000 prize will be announced on Wednesday 31st May 2023.  

Speaking of their sponsorship, Catherine Keogh, Chief Corporate Affairs & Brand Officer, Kerry Group said: “This year Kerry Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary and we are delighted to continue our long and proud association with this hugely significant event that recognises and celebrates Irish authors and the arts sector. I would like to congratulate all five authors on being shortlisted and I very much look forward to hearing who will be announced the winner in May.” 

The full list of competition winners will be announced on the 1st of June on  

Pigott Poetry Prize Shortlist Announced

Pigott Poetry Prize Shortlist Announced

We are pleased to announce that three poetry books have been shortlisted for the 2023 Pigott Poetry Prize. This prize is Ireland’s largest monetary prize for a poetry collection with the winner being awarded €12,000, and the two shortlisted finalists each receiving €1,000.


Over 50 poetry books were submitted for this year’s award and adjudicators Martin Dyar and Clodagh Beresford Dunne selected the shortlist on behalf of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Speaking on behalf of the adjudicators, poet Martin Dyar commented: “Drawn from a truly distinguished field of submissions, this shortlist reflects the depth, inventiveness and enriching musicality of contemporary Irish poetry. These books will delight readers through their wealth of compassionate understanding, their narrative strength, their verbal grace, and their exemplary levels of craft and technique. Here are poets who draw you in and ultimately make you want to share their work with others.” 

 Catherine Moylan, on behalf of the Board of Listowel Writers’ Week, stated, “We are very grateful to all the poets who have submitted wonderful collections for this year’s competition. Congratulations to Tara, Tom & Nithy on being selected for the shortlist and sincere thanks to Mark Pigott KBE celebrating Irish Poetry with the Pigott Poetry Prize.” 

The three shortlisted poetry books are:  

Nithy Kasa, Palm Wine Tapper and the Boy at Jericho (Doire Press) 

Tara Bergin, Savage Tales (Carcanet Press) 

Tom French, Company (Gallery Press) 

The winner of the Pigott Poetry Prize will be announced on the 31st of May 2023 during our opening night ceremony.  

The Pigott Poetry Prize is generously sponsored by Mark Pigott KBE. Mr Pigott shared, “It is a blessing to be able to support this wonderful literary award and recognise the leading poets of Ireland. This is the 10th year of the prize, and the competition is world class. I would like to thank our adjudicators, Martin Dyar and Clodagh Beresford Dunne for their hard work and thorough review of all the entrants and congratulate them on their excellent selection of this year’s shortlist which showcases the beauty, diversity and strength of Irish Poetry”.