John O'Connor Writing School | Short Story Competition
Welcome to the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School and literary arts festival 2016. The three-day festival will be hosted in some of Armagh’s most historic, graceful and inspiring buildings including the magnificent Georgian Armagh Public Library, the Market Street Library, the Market Place Theatre, the Charlemont Arms Hotel and upstairs at Armagh County Museum! The writing school in John O’Connor’s name is intended to mark the rediscovery of his highly acclaimed novel, Come Day Go Day and to involve people in the art of writing fiction, creative non-fiction and commercial communications. The three days promise to offer a unique mix of arts events, writing courses and Masterclasses which will provide something for everyone.
john oconnor, armagh, writing school, masterclass, november, literary events, tutor, writing, events, paul muldoon, muldoon
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John O’Connor Short Story Competition – 2016

Congratulations to the winner of our Short Story Competition, Louise Kennedy for her story ‘Ministry of the Interior’.

Louise is delighted to take up a place in the Writing School, joining the Fiction classes.


“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 first 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 inaugural John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 3rd to 6th November, 2016.

This event, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to 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 is now open and will close at 12.00 noon on 8th October 2016. Entries received after this date and time will not be considered. A three person panel will adjudicate.

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.


6.Entries which have received awards in other competitions are also ineligible.


7.Only short stories will be accepted. Prose and poetry entries are inadmissible.


8.Stories should be submitted in both hard copy and electronic formats.


9. A fee of £5 per entry in form of cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to John O’Connor Writing School should be forwarded with the hard copy to John O’Connor Writing School, 18 Mount Merrion Park, Rosetta, Belfast BT6 OGB.


A separate sheet giving the author’s name, postal address, email address and telephone number should be included


10. An electronic copy should be forwarded as an attachment to Please note that no indication of the author’s name should be given in the actual story.


11.Entries will not be returned.


12. 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 attend all events at the John O’Connor Winter Writing School including classes of his/her choice as well as the opportunity to have a public reading of the winning story and to meet publishers. It does not include travel or accommodation.