PhD creative writing student Niamh Prior, second from right above, has just been announced as the winner of the iYeats poetry competition sponsored by the Hawk's Well Theatre Sligo in conjunction with the Yeats International Summer School. Niamh's entry "Lagan" was described by judges Moya Cannon and Colin Dardis as a "deeply mysterious poem, surreal and, at times, even playful, but carrying huge emotional ballast".
There is a strong narrative thread, sustained by finely textured, sensuous language and a skilled use of imagery, the judges went on. "The speaker’s combination of detachment and tenderness allows us to accompany the writer on a journey to the depths and back."
A second poem of Niamh's - "Practising" - was highly commended by the judges.
An awards ceremony took place at the Hawk's Well Theatre in Sligo on July 27 where the winners read their work to an audience of Yeats international Summer School students. Niamh's poem was displayed, poster-size, in the theatre lobby along with past winners. First place carries a cash prize of E500. Niamh is a versatile writer, who completed her Masters in Creative Writing at UCC majoring in poetry - "Lagan" was one of the poems from that thesis - but whose PhD thesis is in fiction.
The annual online iYeats competition (www.hawkswell.com/iyeats/poetry - is an international poetry event which has won a prestigious reputation for the calibre of both entrants and judges since its inception in 2009.
Meanwhile, MA student Mark Kelleher's soap opera, "Scattered", commissioned by the Evening Echo is set to begin online at http://www.eveningecho.ie/ and in the newspaper on August 8 and will run for 12 days.
The soap opera project was part of the Writing for Media module of the MA, led by Associate Director of Creative Writing, Mary Morrissy. Nine students submitted soap opera proposals and Mark emerged the winner, with PhD candidate Fiona Whyte as runner-up with "Legacy", a version of which will appear in the forthcoming edition of The Holly Bough. Another runner-up, Kelly Warburton, placed her soap "Pure Awkward" on the online website Headstuff. http://www.headstuff.org