Poetry Prize 2019 - open for submissions

About the Prize

The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000 and is invited to read at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University. For this they receive travel, accommodation, and a $1,000 honorarium.

Chair of the Judging Panel 2019 will be Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing (poetry) at the Seamus Heaney Centre. The panel will compile a shortlist of up to five outstanding books of poetry, to be announced in June 2019. The winner will be announced at an Award Night during the Poetry Summer School in July 2019. 

The Prize is part of the Seamus Heaney Legacy Project, a fund established by Queen’s University and the Arts Council of NI, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies. 


  • Three copies of each work must be submitted with each application (these are not returnable)
    along with any available press material
  • Each submission must include an Entry Form - contact for an entry form 
  • Entries must be submitted in hardcopy to: The Seamus Heaney Centre, School of Arts, English, and Languages, Queen’s University, 2 University Square, Belfast BT7 1NN
  • The Seamus Heaney Centre will acknowledge receipt of submissions by email
  • The deadline for entries to the 2019 Poetry Prize is Monday, 1 April 2019


  • Entries must be the first collection by the author.
  • Entries must have a min. 40 pages.
  • Entries must have been published in the UK or Ireland between 1 Jan and 31 Dec 2018.
  • Entries must be in printed book format, not that of a magazine, pamphlet, periodical, or ebook.
  • Authors may be of any nationality but the work must be published in the UK or Ireland.
  • The work must be written in or have been translated into the English language.
  • All books must carry an ISBN.
  • Submissions may come from publishers, who may enter an unlimited number of books. 
  • Anthologies or collections of works by more than one author are not eligible.
  • A collection of translations by various hands is not eligible.
  • A book by a current judge is not eligible.
  • Members of staff and current students at the Seamus Heaney Centre are not eligible to enter


  • Judges have absolute discretion in interpreting the terms, and their decision is final.
  • Judges may split the Prize between two or more entries or withhold the Prize if they do not consider any entry to be of sufficient merit.
  • Should a prize-winning book be a translation from a living poet, the prize is awarded 60% to the translator and 40% to the original poet. If the original poet is dead, but his/her work is within copyright, 40% of the prize is given to the original poet’s estate.
  • No feedback is given on any of the entries.
  • The Seamus Heaney Centre may at any time invite publishers to submit a book. In that event, the publisher will be required to comply with all terms. 
  • Submission of an author's work by their publisher will be taken as agreement by the author that they are willing to enter, and participate in all reasonable publicity associated with the Prize.
  • Should these rules not fully cover any particular circumstances, the decision of the judges on the eligibility of a collection of poetry is final and binding.

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Mark Doty Events: November 2018

‌Sat 3 Nov, 8.30pm

Muldoon’s Picnic at the John O’Connor Literary Arts Festival

Charlemont Arms Hotel, Armagh



Tue 6 Nov 7.30pm

The Lifeboat Reading

The American Bar, Belfast



Wed 7 Nov

MA in Poetry: Masterclass and Seminar

The River Mill, Downpatrick

SHC students only


Fri 9 Nov, 6.30pm

Poetry Jukebox Readings at Outburst Queer Arts Festival

Sunflower Bar, Belfast



Thu 15 Nov

Mark Doty and Andrew McMillan at the Manchester Literature Festival

International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester



Sat 17 Nov, 3.00pm

The HomePlace Reading

Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy

£6 | FREE bus from Queen’s University – to book


Fri 23 Nov, 7.30pm

In conversation with Mark Doty

The Harty Room, School of Music at Queen’s



Thu 29 Nov, 8.00pm

100 Poems Reading

The Pavilion Theatre, Dublin


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Poetry Prize 2018 Award Night

The Seamus Heaney Centre presents... 

Supported by Glucksman Ireland House, New York University

Tue 3 Jul 2018, 7.30pm
No Alibis Bookstore, Botanic Avenue, Belfast

Join us as we announce the winner of this year's prize, and hear readings from the winning collection.

Kayo Chingonyi, Kumukanda, Chatto & Windus
Ellen Cranitch, The Immortalist, Templar Poetry
Wayne Holloway-Smith, Alarum, Bloodaxe Books
Miriam Nash, All the Prayers in the House, Bloodaxe Books
Richard Osmond, Useful Verses, Picador Poetry

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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, the Ireland Professor of Poetry Lecture

'I have my people and they are waiting: Who are the readers of poetry?'

Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, Belfast BT7 1NN, Thursday 22nd March at 7.30pm.

The annual lecture by the Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin will take place on March 22nd. All are welcome, though reservations are essential. To attend please contact Niamh McCabe:

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Leontia Flynn Launch of Fourth Poetry Collection

'The Radio'

Monday 18 December at 7pm in 12-13 Shaftesbury Square

Leontia Flynn’s long awaited launch of her fourth collection of poetry The Radio on the eve of Christmas.

Leontia Flynn is a much celebrated and multi-award winning poet. Her first collection, These Days (2004), won the Forward First Collection Poetry Prize in 2004, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award. The same year, she was named as one of the Poetry Book Society's 'Next Generation' poets. With her second collection Drives (2008) she won a Rooney Prize for Irish literature; her third, Profit and Loss (2011) was shortlisted for the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize, and won the prestigious AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award.

’The Radio is an outstanding book from a poet who is not only one of the best writers of her generation but who seems, more and more, to be the voice of that generation’. Irish Times.

An intimate evening of reading and questions with book signing opportunities.

Reserve a Ticket Here.

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Forthcoming Event: The Launch of Gerald Dawe's Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets will take place in late February. 

The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets offers a fascinating introduction to Irish poetry from the seventeenth century to the present. The book is comprised of thirty chapters written by critics, leading scholars and poets, who bring an authoritative and accessible understanding to their subjects. Each chapter gives an overview of a poet's work and guides the general reader through the wider cultural, historical and comparative contexts

The launch of Gerald Dawe's Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets takes place on the 28th of February at No Alibis Bookstore at 6.30pm.  

Read more. Or listen to Gerald discuss it here. 


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Kevin Barry Reading

Kevin Barry Reading

Thursday November 30th 2017, we had a public reading with one of Ireland's leading novelists and short-story writers, Kevin Barry. He is the multi-award winning author of There Are Little KingdomsCity of BohaneDark Lies the Island and, most recently, Beatlebone. With Olivia Smith, he edits Winter PapersIreland's annual anthology for the arts, which was available on the night.

This relaxed event had opportunities for questions and book-signing and was part of an ongoing programme of public literary events and readings by the Seamus Heaney Centre

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Ireland Chair of Poetry

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Ireland Chair of Poetry

'Pearse Hutchinson (1927-2012): a poet and his languages'

Thursday 23 March at 8pm in the Crescent Arts Centre

In this lecture, the poet looks at her late friend Pearse's relationship with the Irish Language and the languages of Europs, to ask how not just foreign places but the learning of their languages affects the texture of his poetry.

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Paul Murray

Thursday 1 December at 8pm
Crescent Arts Centre

Paul Murray has written three novels, including Skippy
Dies and, most recently, The Mark and the Void. His stories
have been published in Granta, The Paris Review, The
New York Times and elsewhere. He lives in Dublin.

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Georges Szirtes

Thursday 15 December at 8pm
Crescent Arts Centre

George Szirtes, born in Hungary in 1948, published
his first book of poems, The Slant Door, in 1979. It won
the Faber Memorial Prize. He has published many since.
Reel (2004) won the T. S. Eliot Prize for which he has been
twice shortlisted since.

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Joanna Walsh

Thursday 24 November at 8pm
Crescent Arts Centre

Joanna Walsh is the author of Vertigo, Hotel, Grow
a Pair, and Fractals. Her writing has also been published
by Granta Magazine, The Dalkey Archive Best European
Fiction 2015, Best British Short Stories 2014 and 2015,
The Stinging Fly, gorse journal, and others. She reviews at
The New Statesman and The Guardian. She edits at 3:AM
Magazine and Catapult, and is the founder of
@read_women. She is a judge on the 2016 Goldsmiths prize,
and is writer-inresidence at Maynooth University.

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Lucy Caldwell

Thursday 17 November at 8pm
Crescent Arts Centre

Lucy Caldwell is a multi-award-winning novelist,
playwright and radio dramatist. Her debut collection
of short stories, Multitudes, was described by Eimear
McBride as “Beautifully crafted, and so finely balanced
that she holds the reader right up against the tender
humanity of her characters” and earned comparisons by
reviewers to Joyce’s Dubliners. Her version of Chekhov’s
Three Sisters premieres at the Lyric in Belfast this autumn.

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Vahni Capildeo

Thursday 27 October at 8pm
Crescent Arts Centre

Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian-British writer whose
five books and two pamphlets include Measures
of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016) (shortlisted for the
Forward Prize for Best Collection), Simple Complex
Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) and Utter (Peepal Tree,
2013). She holds a DPhil in Old Norse and is interested in
multilingualism, creative reworkings, and the boundaries
between the human and the natural.

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Anne Enright

Thursday, 20 October at 8pm
Great Hall, Lanyon Building, Queen's University Belfast

Anne Enright is the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction
and was awarded the honour by the Arts Council in early
2015. She has published essays, short stories and fiction.
The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction
and the Irish Novel of the Year, and The Forgotten Waltz
(2011) won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in
Fiction. Her latest novel, The Green Road (2015), won the
Irish Novel of the Year and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award.
The Arts Council and The Laureate for Irish Fiction, Anne Enright, in
association with The Stinging Fly present the annual Laureate for
Irish Fiction Lecture:
‘An Irishwoman Abroad: Maeve Brennan Goes Mad In New York’.

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Jean Bleakney: Book Launch

Thursday 6 October at 7.30 pm
Crescent Arts Centre

In Association with Templar Poetry

Jean Bleakney was born in 1956 in Newry and has
published three poetry collections with Lagan Press: The
Ripple Tank Experiment (1999), The Poet’s Ivy (2003) and
ions (2011). Her work has been selected by the Northern
Ireland Examinations Board (CCEA) for study at GCE
Level. Join us and Templar Poetry as we celebrate the
launch of her Selected Poems (Templar Poetry, 2016).

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