Entries Invited for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021 Competition

Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021

Listowel Writers’ Week announce details of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021. Submissions are now being invited for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2021. This award is for the best novel by an Irish author published between 1st February 2020 and 31st January 2021 with a prize of €15,000 for the winning author.

The adjudicators for this year’s award are: Canadian Born novelist and writer Rachel Cusk and UK novelist, poet and critic Richard Skinner.

  • Novel must be published between 1st February 2020 and 31st January 2021
  • 6 copies of each novel should be submitted to
    Listowel Writers’ Week Office, 24 The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry, V31 RD93
  • No application form required.
  • For Award Criteria click HERE

Frank Hayes, representing sponsor Kerry Group Ltd, commented: “We are pleased to continue our sponsorship of the prestigious Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award. Having celebrated 25 years of the Award in 2020, this much sought-after literary award continues to support Ireland’s proud literary heritage and international reputation.”

Winner of the 2020 Award was presented to Edna O’Brien for her novel ‘Girl’.

A short-list of 5 novels will be announced in March 2021 and the winner will be presented with their prize at the Opening Ceremony of Listowel Writers’ Week Literary Festival on Wednesday the 2nd June 2021.

Speaking about the Award, Festival Chairperson, Catherine Moylan stated: “We are delighted to launch this prestigious award for Irish Novel of the Year. It is now in its 26th year of celebration and as always, we are especially grateful to our kind sponsors, Kerry Group Ltd for their ongoing sponsorship and support for this important international literary award.”

The Closing Date for receipt of submissions to Listowel Writers’ Week is Monday 1st February 2021.

Kindly sponsored by:       Kerry Group plc

ENTRY FEE:    Free of Charge

#KerryGroup #IrishNovel #Award #Novel #competition

Entries invited for Pigott Poetry Prize 2021 Competition

Listowel Writers’ Week invite entries for the Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2021 competition – Ireland’s largest prize for a poetry collection. The annual Pigott Poetry Prize, presented at Listowel Writers’ Week, is in its 8th year and is awarded for the best collection of poetry by an Irish poet published between 1st February 2020 and 31st January 2021.

It awards the country’s largest prize for a poetry collection by an Irish Poet. The first prize has been increased this year from €10,000 to €12,000 and the two shortlisted finalists each receive €1,000.

Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2021

This year’s adjudicators are UK poets Maura Dooley & Mark Waldron.

  • Poetry Collections must be published between 1st February 2020 and 31st January 2021
  • 3 copies of each poetry collection should be submitted to
    Listowel Writers’ Week Office, 24 The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry, V31 RD93
  • No application form required.
  • For Award Criteria click HERE

Closing date for receipt of collections is Monday 1st February 2021.

The Prize is sponsored by Philanthropist Mark Pigott KBE & Family who stated that, “It is a blessing to be able to support this wonderful literary award and recognise the leading poets of Ireland and showcase the beauty, diversity and strength of Irish Poetry. Poetry is wonderful every day, but even more important during these uncertain times.

A shortlist of three collections will be revealed in March 2021 and the winner will be announced at the Opening Ceremony of Listowel Writers’ Week on the 2nd June 2021.

The 2020 Pigott Poetry Prize winner was Miriam Gamble for her collection What Planet which was published by Bloodaxe Books.

Festival Chairperson, Catherine Moylan commented, “Poetry has proved to provide solace for many of us over the last year. We are delighted to get the opportunity to continue to celebrate Irish Poetry and shine a light on talented poets through the generous Pigott Poetry Prize. We are extremely grateful to Mark Pigott and his family for their continued support of this award.”

Listowel Writers’ Week takes place between the 2nd – 6th June 2021.

For more information please: Phone: 00353 (0)68 21074 or Email:

Kindly sponsored by:       Mark Pigott KBE & The Pigott Family

ENTRY FEE:    Free of Charge

#Poetry #Award #Competition #MarkPigott


Great News for Irish Writing as Winners for Listowel Writers’ Week Competition Awards 2020 Announced

Listowel Writers’ Week 2020 was due to take place this week, 27th May to 31st May. An online Awards Ceremony, held on Wednesday 27th May at 8pm, honoured all competition entrants and their talented writing, during an incredibly strange and unprecedented year. This could not have happened without the loyalty of our Sponsors and Patrons and we are delighted to say a huge thank you to them all for their sponsorship of, and dedication to, supporting writers at a time when it is most needed.

Our Festival President, Colm Tóibín, spoke fondly via video of his many memories of Listowel Writers’ Week. He spoke about the many enjoyable weeks he has spent, over the years, celebrating the written word in the worthy company of authors and artists who continue to enrich our lives. He remarked that the festival is a beacon of light in Ireland which harnesses energy and excellence and that the written word is transformed and enlightened by the Festival presence in the international calendar.

Chairperson Catherine Moylan announced the winners and shortlist of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020 and the Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020 online, on the night. She thanked both sponsors, Kerry Group and Mark Pigott KBE, for their continued support and sponsorship of these prestigious literary awards.

We were on the cusp of releasing another wonderful programme of great writers and artists, all of whom were dedicated and excited to bring a jam-packed literary diary of events to the 50th celebration of Listowel Writers’ Week. Although the door of the Listowel Arms Hotel was not open to welcome so many of our literary friends this year, we celebrated and marked the occasion with a very special digital Awards Ceremony to honour the many writers who graced us with their wonderful works of literature. We are already planning for 2021 and look forward to welcoming you again and supporting and promoting writers and the written word.

The close-knit community of Arts practitioners, both here in Ireland and internationally, have all suffered as a result of this pandemic. Writers have missed out on so much with the postponement of many book publications, cancellations of book launches and much-loved Festivals. Here in Listowel we witness first-hand, each year, the delight of our authors and readers who greet each other at book signings and literary events, and meet informally as the sun shines down upon our beautiful town. So many are doing their level best to help, and Irish independent bookshops continue to do a wonderful job in supporting writers through facilitating and feeding our love of reading.  We will miss the buzz in Listowel this year, but we’ll be back in 2021 ready and eager to welcome you to what will still be our 50th Festival.


The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020

The winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020 was announced. Well known and much loved author Edna O’Brien, with her novel Girl, scooped the large literary purse of the evening – €15,000. Her lifetime of writing spans six decades and she has created many great works of literature over this time.

Frank Hayes, representing sponsor Kerry Group commented:  “In celebrating the 25th anniversary of our Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, we are pleased to salute the five shortlisted writers selected by Carol Drinkwater and Ian McGuire. Congratulations to each of them for their wonderful novels which greatly augment the prestige of the literature of Ireland and most especially to our 2020 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award winner Edna O’Brien for her brave, compelling work GIRL.

He also thanked this year’s adjudicators Ian McGuire and Carol Drinkwater for their great work and dedication to the adjudication of all competition entries.


The Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020

What Planet by Miriam Gamble was awarded The Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020. This is Miriam’s third collection of poetry. Her first two collections of poetry are The Squirrels Are Dead and Pirate Music. She grew up in Belfast and currently lectures at Edinburgh University in creative writing. This prize is for an Irish poet who has published a collection of poetry, kindly sponsored by Mark Pigott, KBE and Executive Chairman of PACCAR Inc. With family origins in Listowel, Mark’s family emigrated to the United States of America in the late 1980’s.

Mark Pigott said: “It is a blessing to be able to support this wonderful literary award and recognise the leading poets of Ireland. This is the 7th year of the prize and the competition is world class. I would like to thank our adjudicator, Ian McMillan, for his hard work and thorough review of all the entrants and congratulate him on his excellent selection of this year’s shortlist which showcases the beauty, diversity and strength of Irish Poetry“.

The Full List of Literary Award Winners on the Night

The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020


Girl by Edna O’Brien


Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

Leonard & Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

The River Capture by Mary Costello


The Pigott Poetry Prize Award 2020


What Planet by Miriam Gamble


When the Tree Falls by Jane Clarke

Pigeon Songs by Eoghan Walls


Listal – Single Poem Award 2020


Terminarch by Jo Burns


Kerry County Council – The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award 2020


Grace by Angela Lyons


Foras Na Gaeilge – Duais Foras Na Gaeilge Award 2020


Iarlais by Áine Ní Ghlinn


Tim Costello, Profile Developments – The Poetry Collection Competition Award 2020


Mating on the Wing by John D Kelly


Bill Walsh & Family, Aspire Technology Limited – Eamon Keane Full Length Play Award 2020 in Association with Siamsa Tire


Giddyups Way by Ciara Cassoni


Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Humorous Essay Award 2020


The Cow as a Political Actor by Gavin O’Toole


The Nilsson Family – The Nilsson Local Heritage Writing Competition Award 2020


Capard, An Irish Country House and Estate by Ciaran Reilly


School at Slyne Head by Colm Wallace


Kerry County Council – Creative Writing Competitions for Youth Award 2020

Age 9 and Under:

1st:  Winter Woolies by Ellie May Walsh

2nd:  The Dog Who Hurt His Paw by Aoibhinn May Smith

3rd: The Great Famine by Charlie O’Neill

Age 12 and Under:

1st: Outside My Window by Anna O’Sullivan

2nd: The Pocket Watch by Ciara Kelly

3rd: A Day with Dinosaurs by Siena Ryan

Age 15 and Under:

1st: The Midnight Ball by Ruth McCarthy

2nd: A Filipino Mystery by Sarah Moynihan

3rd: Forgotten Forest by Aleksandra Glebocka

Age 18 and Under:

1st: Girls in the Shape of Birds in the Shape of Girls by Emma Harris

2nd: Old Friends and New Friends by Lauren McDermott

3rd: Funeral by Conor Keane


Robert & Olive Pierse – Creative Writing for Special Educational Needs Award 2020 – Age 18 and Under

1st: Connemara by William O’Connor

2nd: Supergran by Oisin O’hAolain

3rd: One Moment in Time by Sarah O’Leary


Pierce Fitzgibbon Solicitors – Creative Writing for Adults with Special Needs Award 2020

1st: Childhood by Joseph Ganley

2nd: Disability by Paul Manning

3rd: Flame of a Rainbow by Dean Kiely


Huge thanks to all of our generous Sponsors and Patrons who support our great literary awards every year.

Congratulations to all award recipients. Thank you to all writers’ that submitted their creative literary works, continue writing and keep the written word alive!


#Writing #Winners #LiteraryAwards #KerryGroup #Novels #Pigott #Poetry



BY JO BURNS – for Fatu, Kenya, 2018 


Girl, you’re the last combination of chromosomes

and randomly smolt genes of your species.

You wear survival on your hide like an armour

of melted-down spearheads and machetes.

You vocalize the thunderous gutterals

of your indigenous tongue into seasons of hollow,

and are last to walk the way of the pilgrims

and mates to the familial watering holes.

Your brothers crossed the Ngorongoro cradle

to the other side to join the djinn. Their fathers,

and fathers before them, travelled past

the cauldron caldera you would call home,

if free to. Their pride graces teak tresors

as polished handles of yemenese daggers,

or ground to myth in Chinese powders.

But your grandfather,  as rare as rhodium

in his life, cleared the walls of hunting lodges,

reverse-engineering evolution

to a crash of poems. Like you, he was a birth

of magma from the fertile crater core.

Now receeding like lava back to the spirits,

he is a zip of unravelling DNA helix

and nucleotides you share, but have no use for.

As you search through cracks of crust and mantle

for the rest of your days, some holy place

to call your own, you lumber on a petered-out trail

of seed and sequence, relic and reason,

red dust. You are from yet also filled with volcano

and desire for something with no name, no outlet.

When the earth swallowed his last death trumpet,

deep underground an ancient herd stampeded.

Hearing it, he lowered his bullish head to charge

the rim. He knew he was storming time

to surrender to the last century of man.

You are so many things at once, a matriarch

without fold, an endling of magical code,

revered by the old ones, in lineage and bone.

And the horizon is a blood sky spilling towards

you. Fatu, you’re extinct despite still living

and we mourn the last ever male of your kind,

the northern white rhino, named Sudan,

who leaves you, granddaughter, behind him.


Source: Listowel Writers’ Week (May 2020)

Want the Inside Scoop?