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Trócaire and Poetry Ireland announce competition winner

By Ann Marie Foley - 31 August, 2020

Winner in the Adult Published Category, Cliona O’Connell, reading at last year’s event. Photo: Garry Walsh

Trócaire and Poetry Ireland have announced the winners of their poetry competition and will celebrate the winners on a streamed video event on Poetry Ireland’s YouTube channel on Culture Night (Friday 18 September) instead of the normal live readings and presentations.

The winners of the 2020 poetry competition wrote on the theme ‘Standing Her Ground’.

“Given that this has been such a difficult year, with schools closed since early March, we have been delighted with the volume and the quality of the response to this year’s theme,” stated the organisers. “The annual Poetry Competition is a wonderful example of the expression of global justice issues through poetry.”

This year’s theme incorporated the stories of Angela and Madris, mothers from Honduras and Kenya who featured in Trócaire’s 2020 Lenten Campaign, who are supporting their families by standing up for their right to earn a living on their own land. They are battling enormous odds, including threats of violence, intimidation and drought, to provide food for their children and to keep them in school.

In the Adult Published Category, the winner was ‘Protest Song’ by Cliona O’Connell. In the Adult Unpublished Category, the poem ‘Declaration Winner’ by Marie Studer took the top prize.

“It is heartening to see, even in these challenging times, how school children and adults alike can take a theme of injustice and turn it into inspiring poems that tell similar stories often with hopeful messages for the future,” said the organisers.

Christine Broe got a runner-up prize

The schools categories included the various age groups in both primary and secondary schools.

“With winners from nine separate counties overall, we are particularly aware of the effort it took all our schools category entries to participate this year and we would like to thank everyone for their continued interest and support,” said the organisers.

In the Primary Junior Category, the winning poem was ‘She’s Standing her Ground’ by Ruairí Heeney. The Primary Senior Category winner was ‘Gaia’s Stand’ by Rosie Penn-Chester.

The Post-Primary Junior Category winner was ‘Suo Tempore’ by Sineád O’Reilly. ‘Home Comforts’ by Liam Hannigan was the winner in the Post-Primary Senior Category.

The organisers thanked all the entrants and the judges of this year’s competition: Catherine Ann Cullen, Aidan Clifford and Joanne McGarry. A booklet of the winning poems is due to be published in 2021.

Other poems in the adult runners-up category included ‘Well Water’ by Christine Broe; ‘Arenaria Ciliata’ by Marie Whelton; ‘The Kiss and the Betrayal’ by Margaret McCarthy; ‘Everything beautiful is cruel’ by Michael Ray; ‘Women Sing at the Court of Justice’ by Christine Park; and ‘Amal’ by Priscilla Cassar.

The primary school runners-up included ‘She Stood Tall’ by Eibhlín Milmoe O’Reilly; ‘Too much to ask’ by Liam York; ‘Dear Mrs Sheey Skeffington’ by Iseult McGovern; and ‘The Girl’ by Veronika Fitzsimons.

Post-primary school runners-up included ‘Seas do Thalamh’ by Lucy Dillon; ‘No More’ by Siobhan Fitzgerald; ‘The Lighthouse’ by Hannah Nic Eindrí: and ‘Wolves’ by Rachel Durcan.

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