Moyra Donaldson and Naomi Foyle have chosen Poetry Society Member Alan Weadick as the winner of the fourth Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award. Alan receives £1,000 and a 3-night stay at the wonderful writing and reading retreat ‘The River Mill’.
The award, organised by the Belfast Book Festival, is aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry. Both published and unpublished writers are invited to submit between 3-5 poems with the only stipulation being that they have not yet published a full collection. The Belfast Book Festival is Northern Ireland’s leading literary festival and since its inception in 2010, has grown from strength to strength.
Sophie Hayles, CEO of The Crescent Arts Centre, reflects on running this year’s Awards in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic:
“Despite all the challenges which the lockdown has presented us with – both personally and professionally – we were determined to continue to host the Mairtín Crawford Awards this year. Arts and culture have played a central role in helping many people navigate the lockdown period and the quality and variety of entries to this year’s Awards were a real tribute to what artists can produce under challenging circumstances.”
The shortlist for included fellow Poetry Society Members Elena Croitoru, Estelle Price, and Maia Elsner. The shortlist is completed by Patrick James Errington and Ruby Fatimilehin.
Alan Weadick has been publishing poems widely for over ten years, most recently in The Irish Times New Writing, Cyphers, The Honest Ulsterman, Skylight 47 and in the Culture Matters anthology “Children of the Nation”. He has been short and long-listed for competitions including the Strokestown Poetry Festival, Listowel Writer’s Week and the National Poetry Competition (UK, 2016), been nominated for a Hennessy Literary award (Emerging Poetry, also 2016) and won third prize in the Red Line Book Festival poetry competition in 2019. He also writes prose fiction and three of his short stories have been shortlisted and broadcast on RTE Radio for the Francis McManus Short Story competition. He lives in Dublin.
Elena Croitoru has an MSt in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Her work has been selected for the Best New British & Irish Poets 2019 and has appeared in Southword & other magazines. She won second place in the Edward Thomas award, third place in the Open House poetry competition & was highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award. She was also shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Bridport Prize and other awards.
Estelle Price completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester in 2016. Previous to that she worked as a lawyer in London and Manchester and ran an international charity with projects in Nairobi, Kenya. Since completing her MA Estelle’s poetry has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the National Poetry Competition, Bridport Prize, Canterbury Poet of the Year, Much Wenlock, the London Magazine, Yorkmix, Manchester Cathedral, Wells, Bangor, Vers and Welshpool. She was the winner of the 2018 Book of Kells Prize. Poems have appeared in the Paper Swans, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Stony Thursday Book anthologies and the Smith|Doorstep: The Result is What You See Today anthology. Estelle is working on a collection of poems themed around the Bloomsbury Group and also two pamphlets of poems, one linked by the spring bulb, Galanthus, the other by the shifting concept of ‘home.’
Maia Elsner grew up between Oxford and Mexico City, and began writing poetry while living in Massachusetts, USA. She was shortlisted for the 2019 White Review Poetry Prize and commended for the 2020 Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in British, Canadian and American journals, including Magma, Wildness, Blackbox Manifold, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Ekphrastic Review, among others.
Mairtín Crawford was a writer and poet and who was a significant figure in Northern Ireland’s literary community. “Mairtín wrote as he lived, with a combination of intelligence and daring, revolutionary spirit and generosity of heart.” – Moyra Donaldson.
15 July 2020