The Winner's Of The Mairtín Crawford Awards In 2018 Were;

Poetry Award Winner: Milena Williamson

Short Story Award Winner: Gaynor Jones.

In 2018 the Poetry Award entered its second year and we saw the introduction of the Short Story Award. The judging panel for the Poetry Award was headed by Moyra Donaldson who was supported by Paul Maddern and Matt Kirkman, whilst Jan Carson was the judge of the Short Story Award.

The Winner's of each Award received a cash prize and a mentorship, which was delivered by Paul Maddern (Poetry) and Paul McVeigh (Short Story). The Tyrone Guthrie Centre also provided an additional prize for the most promising writer across both Awards. 

Thanks to NIPR for supporting the Awards in 2018.   

The winner of the Maírtin Crawford Award for Poetry 2018 was Milena Williamson. Click here to read her winning work. 

Milena is from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania and she is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast. She won the 2018 Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award and the 2020 Streetcake Magazine experimental writing poetry prize. Her poetry has been published on RTÉ and in Banshee, Blackbox Manifold, Hold Open the Door, and Poetry Ireland Review among others. Find out more on her website.

When asked how winning changed her writing career Milena said:

Winning the Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award helped me grow as a poet. At the time, I had just finished my Masters degree and I felt like I was at a crossroads, unsure of what to do next with my poetry and myself. When I won this award, it helped build my confidence; I continued submitting my poetry to literary journals, applied to do a PhD and learned to see myself as an emerging poet. As an American living in Northern Ireland, I'm incredibly honoured and grateful to be recognized by Belfast's literary community. In short, the award helped me feel like I belonged-- in poetry and in Northern Ireland. As part of the prize, I spent time at the incredible The River Mill where I edited my poetry, read books and formed friendships with other writers.

The winner of the Maírtin Crawford Award for Short Story 2018 was Gaynor JonesClick here to read her winning work. 

Gaynor is the recipient of a 2020 Northern Writer’s Award from New Writing North for her short story collection, Girls Who Get Taken & Other Stories. She has won or placed in the Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction and the Anton Chekov Award for Very Short Fiction. Her writing has been widely published and can be found in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, Barrelhouse and The Forge among others. Her novella-in-flash, Among These Animals, was published by Ellipsis Zine in March 2020. She has headlined and guested at spoken word nights across the North West and performed at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe with For Books’ Sake. 

When asked how winning has changed her writing career Gaynor said: 

Winning the short story award was a huge turning point for me. Being mentored by Paul McVeigh for my prize, so early on in my career was invaluable and I have no doubt that his insights have helped me to the place that I am today. It brought my work to a wider audience and boosted my confidence immensely. Working with Paul, and winning the prize, gave me the courage to continue submitting and to commit to writing long-term. 

Poetry runner-up was Paul McMahon

Originally from Belfast, Paul now lives in Cork. His debut poetry chapbook, Bourdon, was published by Southword Editions in 2016. His poetry has appeared in The Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, The North, The Atlanta Review, Ambit, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, The Poetry Ireland Review, The Best New British and Irish Poets, and elsewhere.

In 2015 he was awarded The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize by Carol Ann Duffy. Other poetry awards include 1st prize in The Moth International, The Nottingham Open, The Westival International, and The Golden Pen Poetry Prizes, 2nd prize in The Basil Bunting, the Mairtín Crawford Award, and The Salt International Poetry Prizes, Runner-up prize-winner in The Troubadour, The Tom Howard and The Atlanta Review Poetry Prizes, and bursary awards for poetry from the Arts Council's of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Also a playwright, Paul is developing his new play with The Abbey Theatre

Paul's advice for people thinking about entering the Mairtín Crawford Award is:

Enter with the intention of using the competition as a stimulus to find connections linking your poems. In that way, whether you win or not, your debut poetry collection will have benefited.

The Runner-Up's for the Short Story Award were;

Niall BourkeClick here to read Niall's work.

Elizabeth Gallagher Click here to read Elizabeth's work.

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