Listowel Writers’ Week Opens its 2018 Festival & Announces the 2018 Winners of All Prizes


Listowel Writers’ Week officially threw open the doors to its 48th Festival on Wednesday night the 30th May 2018.

A host of Irish and international poets, playwrights, novelists, short story writers, artists and musicians flocked into Listowel yesterday evening for the 48th Opening and Awards Ceremony of Listowel Writers’ Week.

Award winning US Poet Billy Collins officially opened the Festival. Music on the evening was provided by award winning A Capella group Ardú.  There were recitations from poet Clodagh Beresford Dunn who won the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards Poem of the Year 2017.

Festival President Colm Tóibín was present at the Opening Ceremony and he will be hosting A Cuppa with Colm on Thursday morning.

Festival Chairperson Liz Dunn welcomed everyone to the Opening Ceremony and stated that “This year’s festival programme is outstanding and covers such a wide variety of literature and responses to literature, that there really is something for everyone.  It certainly justifies our “Best Irish Festival 2018 Award”.

The John B. Keane Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with Mercier Press, was presented to author Edna O’Brien in recognition of her outstanding contribution to literature internationally.

The biggest buzz of the night was kept for the announcement of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2017.

Irish novelist Paul Lynch with his novel Grace, walked away with the €15,000 prize.

The prize was presented to Paul Lynch by Frank Hayes of Kerry Group, who said ‘As one of the notable highlights of the annual Irish literary awards, the Kerry Group Award for Irish fiction has once again brought the country’s finest writers to the fore. This year’s shortlist includes five fantastic novels that sit comfortably alongside the previous winners of this prestigious prize. Congratulations to each of the shortlisted authors and most especially to our Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year winner, Paul Lynch, for his wonderful work Grace.’

He also thanked this year’s adjudicators Jane Urquhart and Alex Preston for their hard work and dedication to the adjudication.

The Pigott Poetry Prize

The Pigott Poetry Prize was awarded to Colette Bryce who won €8,000 for her collection Selected Poems 2000-2014. This prize is for a published collection of poetry by an Irish poet generously sponsored by Mark Pigott, KBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of PACCAR Inc. Mark’s family originated from Listowel and emigrated to the United States in the late 1890s. Mark flew in from New York earlier today  and he too thanks this year’s adjudicators Billy Collins and Deryn Rees Jones for their work in choosing this year’s winner.

Full List of Prize Winners on the Night

Winners and Shortlist 2018

The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award:

Paul Lynch, Grace


Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends
Lisa Harding, Harvesting
Frank McGuinness, The Woodcutter and His Family
Bernard MacLaverty, Midwinter Break

The Pigott Poetry Prize:

Colette Bryce, Selected Poems 2000-2014


Michael Longley, Angel Hill
Sinéad Morrissey, On Balance

Kerry County Council
The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award:

David O’Donovan, Skinned Knees


Paul Lenehan, Stories for Girls
Patrick Freyne, August from Another Walthamstow
Joseph Sweeney, Halla
Niamh McCabe, This Much is Known

Duais Foras Na Gaeilge:

Simon Ó’ Faoláin, El Memorioso


Simon Ó’Faoláin, Cánóg Dhubh
Máire Ní Bhriain, Copóg
Máire Ní Bhriain, Éabha sa Ghleann
Eibhlis Carcione, Bhíomar ag dul ar saoire go hEochaill
Michéal O’Ruairc – Portaigh

The Single Poem Competition

Jerm Curtin, Remembering Dominic Nesbitt 


Zillah Bowes, The Valley With Me
Judy Kane, Right of Way
Kathryn Burke, Picking Over the Remains
David Butler, Sound

Profile Developments
The Poetry Collection Competition:

Eilis Stanley, Medulla

Eoin Hegarty, Bronze
Zillah Bowes, The Valley the Air

Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Competition – Humorous Essay:

Kevin Foley, Essay on the Merits of Winking in January

Séamas McNally, Maintenance with Mabel
Brian Buckley, It’s All in the Mind
Stephen Coronella, My Time Has Come: Bearded Men are Back
Laura Gannon, The Day the Dial-Up Died
Rose Servitova, Up with the Waterford Stanley, Down with the Sod of Turf
Patrick Hull, Seeking Apartment with a Kitchen View
Patrick Lynch, Croke Park Man

The Kerryman
Con Houlihan Young Journalist Award:

Diarmaid Blehein, A Korean Wedding- Where the Guests Come First

Pierse Fitzgibbon

Creative Writing for Adults with Special Needs:

1st: Ricky Coonan, It Will Be Okay
2nd: Jack Doherty, Trucks

The Aspire Eamon Keane Full Length Play in association with Siamsa Tíre:

Fergal O’Byrne, Extremophiles


Brendan Griffin, A Thousand Moments of Extraordinary Pleasure
John McManus, Lone Wolf
Nicola Keane, Close Enough to Feale
John McManus, An ill Wind
Neil Flynn, A Bird Came Down the Walk
Eamonn Dolan, Sway

The Nilsson Local Heritage Writing Competition

1st Bryan MacMahon – The Great Famine in Tralee and North Kerry

2nd Paddy McGuinness – The Castlebar International Song Contest 1966-1988

The Irish Post

Creative Writing Competition

Elleesa Rushby, New Pet

Kerry County Council Creative Writing for Youth Competitions

Creative Writing for 9 Years & Under
1st: Maria Lenny, The Play Date
2nd: Anna O’Sullivan, When My Friend Came to Tea
3rd: Aisling Carroll, Ophelia

Creative Writing for 12 Years & Under

1st: Charlotte Williams, Colours
2nd: Cornelia Mangan, The King and Queen of China
3rd: Victoria Lunin, Wild Life

Creative Writing for 15 Years & Under

1st: Charlie Fitzgerald, Apocalypse
2nd: Evelyn Flynn, Stress
3rd: Ellie Ní Chearmada, Nellie

Creative Writing for 18 Years & Under

1st: Freyja Hellebust, Literary Ghosts
2nd: Sorcha Kennelly, Shift
3rd: Gráinne Fitzgerald, January Tenth

Robert & Olive Pierse

Creative Writing for Special Educational Needs

1st: Ruth Stewart, Dreams
2nd: Sarah O’Leary, Documentary on Ivy Rose
3rd: William O’Connor, Nature’s Face

A copy if our Winners’ Anthology can be purchased from the Listowel Writers’ Week Office on  068 21074 – cost is €8 and excludes postage.

So… something for everybody during the Bank Holiday weekend in The Kingdom of Words!