Winners of the Waterford Poetry Prize 2023

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The Arts Office, Waterford City and County Council is pleased to announce the winners of the national Waterford Poetry Prize 2023.

First Prize goes to ‘Skimming Stones’ by Finola Cahill, a writer and musician from Ballina, Co. Mayo. Her poetry has featured in the London Magazine, Paris Lit Up, An Capall Dorcha, and others. This year she was shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize, the Bridport Poetry Prize and the Listowel Writers Week Collection Award. She participated in the 2023 Seamus Heaney Summer School and was one of 37 writers selected for the 2023 Irish Writers Centre national mentoring programme. Her place in the mentoring programme is funded by the Mayo Arts Office. She is currently working towards publishing her first collection, for which she has received an Arts Council Agility Award. Her band, Pembroke, can be found on all the usual streaming services with their debut album, At Sea. Finola is awarded €400 plus a course at the Molly Keane Writers Retreat, Ardmore.


Second Prize is ‘Absences’ by Patrick Holloway. From Carragaline, Co. Cork, Patrick is the winner of the 2023 Bath Short Story Prize, The Molly Keane Creative Writing Award, The Flash 500 Prize, the Allingham Fiction Prize, among others. He was selected by Alexander MacLeod as a Seán Ó Faoláin Mentee in 2023 and was highly commended for the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition. He is also the recipient of the 2023 Paul McVeigh Residency. He was second in The Raymond Carver Short Story contest, was highly commended for the Manchester Fiction Prize, shortlisted for many prizes including The Moth Short Story Prize, Bath Flash Fiction Prize, and the prestigious Alpine Fellowship for Fiction. His work has appeared in Southword, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, Carve, The London Magazine, The Moth, and many others. He is an editor of the literary journal, The Four Faced Liar. Patrick is awarded €300 plus a course at the Molly Keane Writers Retreat, Ardmore.


Third Prize is ‘After you told me you wanted to f*** that night outside the Abbey Theatre’’ by Lianne O’ Hara a poet and playwright from Dublin. Her work features in the Winter Papers, The Rialto, Arc Poetry Magazine, Poetry Ireland Review, The London Magazine, Banshee, and elsewhere. Her play FLUFF sold out its inaugural run at the 2022 Dublin Fringe Festival. She teaches creative writing at University College Dublin and the Irish Writers Centre. She was awarded €200.

The adjudicator for the Waterford Poetry Prize, Colm Keegan read the winning poems to a capacity audience at the Speakeasy Open Mic event at the Waterford Writers Weekend. The Arts Office thanked everyone from all over the country who entered and all involved with making the Waterford Writers Weekend a success.

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