Short Story Competition - John O'Connor Writing School
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John O’Connor Short Story Competition – 2017

Cover Art of John O'Connor's Book 'Come Day - Go Day' by Armagh Artist JB Vallely

Congratulations to the winner of our 2016 Short Story Competition, Louise Kennedy for her story ‘Ministry of the Interior’. Our Short Story  Competition is not currently open.

The world of John O’Connor is a world of the freshly snedded turnip, the new-sawn plank, the sod shining under the plough. His gift is to render the life of the Mill Row in Armagh as deftly and definitively as Steinbeck renders Cannery Row or Bob Dylan Desolate Row – Paul Muldoon

Entries are invited from aspiring writers for the second John O’Connor Short Story Competition. It is being held to commemorate the Armagh-born writer whose impressive literary legacy includes a collection of short stories which still retain a timeless appeal.

The prize-winner will be awarded a bursary to attend the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 2nd to 5th November, 2017.

The festival, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of John O’Connor as well as offering practical guidance and assistance to aspiring writers through its workshops and Master classes in the various literary genres and writing for commercial purposes.

The competition will is not currently open. 2018 details will be posted when available.

Click to Show Rules

  1. The competition is open to people of 16 years and older
  2.  Only one entry per person is permitted
  3. Entries must be in English
  4. Entries must be between 1,800 and 2,000 words in length. Entries outside this word count will not be permitted and will be automatically rejected.
  5. Entries must be the original work of the author and must not have been previously published either in writing or electronically. Entries which have received awards in other competitions are also ineligible.
  6. Only short stories will be accepted. Prose and poetry entries are inadmissible.
  7. An entrance fee of £10 per story must be paid and submitted separately by cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to John O’Connor Writing School and sent to JOCWS c/o 18 Mount Merrion Park, Belfast, BT60GB, N.Ireland.
  8. All entries must be submitted electronically to short Story Co-ordinator, Mary McVeigh, at
  9. Stories must be submitted as attachments to entry giving name, telephone number and email address. Please note that no indication of the author’s name should be given in the actual story.
  10. Entries will not be returned.
  11. The decision of the adjudicators is final and they will not enter into any correspondence concerning the competition.

The bursary prize allows the recipient to enjoy all events in the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival 2017, and to attend one class in the writing genre of his/her choice.

The winning entrant will be formally announced at the opening of the Writing school on Friday 3rd November, and will have the opportunity to read at the ‘Write out Loud’ Literary Lunchtime event on Sunday 5th November.

Single room accommodation will be available free of charge to the winning entrant.