The prizes include the An Post Book Awards, Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Frank O’Connor Award, the Fish Poetry Prize, Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, The Westport Arts Festival Poetry, Children’s Books Ireland Awards and the European Prize for Literature. The MA in Writing is a one-year, full-time course and NUI Galway alumni have gone on to work in the areas of teaching, journalism, publishing, editing, public relations and marketing and the list of publications and literary prizes lengthens every year with the number of books published by writers from this course.
The ‘An Post Irish Book Awards’ brings together the entire literary community – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians and we were delighted to have five alumni nominated in 2021. Congratulations to Deirdre Sullivan, BA, MA in Drama and Theatre Studies for her award for Short Story of the Year for ‘Little Lives’ from ‘I Want to Know That I Will Be OK’ and Tom Kenny, who has made innumerable contributions to the Arts in Galway for his award The An Post Bookshop of the Year for ‘Kenny’s Bookshop’.
Other alumni nominated include Una Mannion, MA in Writing for Newcomer of the Year for ‘A Crooked Tree’, Karen J. McDonnell, BA, Dip sa Ghaeilge for Irish Poem of the Year for ‘Driftwood’, Áine Ní Chonghaile, BA, MA, PhD sa Stair for Irish Language Book of the Year for ‘An Cheathrú Rua agus na hOileáin sa Naoú hAois Déag’.
More published NUI Galway alumni include:
Elaine Feeney (BA 1999) has published three collections of poetry, Where’s Katie?, The Radio was Gospel, Rise, and a drama piece, WRoNGHEADED, commissioned by Liz Roche Company. She teaches at NUI Galway and St Jarlath’s College. Her work has been widely published and anthologised in Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Copper Nickel, Stonecutter Journal and others. As You Were is her fiction debut and was named Top Ten Debuts for 2020 in the Observer.
Claire-Louise Bennett (MA 2005) was born in Wiltshire, England and studied literature and drama at London’s University of Roehampton before moving to Ireland where she worked in and studied theatre at NUI Galway. Her debut, Pond, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2016. Her much acclaimed second novel is Checkout 19.
Róisín Kelly (BA 1996, MA 1999 HDipEd 2004) was born in west Belfast and raised in the rural Irish county of Leitrim. After a year as a handweaver on Clare Island and a Masters in Writing at NUI Galway, she now calls Cork City home. Her first chapbook of poetry, Rapture, was published by Southword Editions in 2016. Publications in which her work has appeared in Ireland, the US and UK include Poetry, Magma, Ambit, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review and Winter Papers. In 2017 she won the Fish Poetry Prize. Her first full-length collection, Mercy, was published by Bloodaxe in 2020.
Attracta Fahy (MA in Writing 2017) is a psychotherapist who lives in Galway. Her poems have been published in The Irish Times, Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, Poethead, Coast to Coast to Coast, Orbis, Crossways and many more. She was the winner of the 2019 The Irish Times New Irish Writing award and recently released her new poetry collection, Dinner in the Fields.
Alan McMonagle (BComm 1989, MA 2007, DipA 2013) has written for radio, published two collections of short stories: Liar, Liar and Psychotic Episodes – both of which were nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award – and contributed stories to many journals in Ireland and North America. His debut novel, Ithaca, was published in 2017 and his second novel, Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame, was published by Picador in March 2020.