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
This competition has been held annually for the past three years to commemorate the Armagh-born writer John O’Connor whose impressive literary legacy includes a collection of short stories which still retain a timeless appeal.
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 John O’Connor Short Story Competition is not currently open. Please feel free to browse previous winning entries.
The 2018 winner was Alan O’Gorman for his story ‘Sticks and Stones’ (read it HERE). Shortlisted writers were Holly Yuille, Lucy Beevor, Millie May, DM O’Connor.
The 2018 prize-winner was awarded a bursary to attend the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 1st to 4th November, 2018, plus a cash prize of £250, a three night stay at The River Mill – a fantastic boutique 5-bedroom writers’ retreat in a 300 year old mill located in rural Co. Down which offers individual residencies and mentored weeks. For more information about this inspirational spot, visit http://www.the-river-mill.co.uk
UPDATE: Kit De Waal Bursaries
With thanks to the generous sponsorship of author Kit de Waal, we were in a position, in 2018, to offer bursaries to cover the cost of five submissions (the short story competition is limited to one submission per person) for writers who might not otherwise through financial circumstance be able to enter the competition i.e, from a disadvantaged or minority communities, on low income, with a disability. Application was via the online submission form. Allocations were made on a first-come-first-served basis.
Information about the next Short Story Competition is not yet available. We will update this page and our digital platforms with further details when it is available.
The bursary prize allows the recipient to enjoy all events in the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Festival 2018, and to attend one class in the writing genre of his/her choice, a cash prize of £250 and a three-night stay at The River Mill (writers’ retreat based in rural Co. Down).
The winning entrant will be formally announced at the opening of the Writing school on Friday 2nd November, and will have the opportunity to read at an event on Sunday 4th November.
Single room accommodation will be available free of charge to the winning entrant. Please note, the winner will be responsible for their travel expenses.