Moth Prize/Celebration Of NI Includes Heaney – Poetry News Roundup December 16th

Today in our news round-up we look at the Moth Poetry Prize and Seamus Heaney as the face of NI branding for its upcoming centenary.

Moth Irish Poetry Prize Now Open for 2020 Entries

The annual poetry competition run by The Moth; an Irish poetry magazine, is now offering one of the biggest prizes in poetry. The prize is given for a single poem. It must be unpublished and original, the only other stipulation is that entrants are aged over 16. There is no line limit for entries; they can be any length.

The competition is open to everyone, and each year attracts a huge number of entrants, often into the thousands, from both established poets and new ones who sent in poetry from all over the globe. There is an entry fee, which is €15 per poem. The prize is €6000 and this year there is an opportunity for an additional eight poets to be given a monetary prize.

The judging is not done by a panel of judges but rather a single poet, and they will only learn the names of the poets who have made it to the shortlist when the overall winner is announced. Previous judges have included Daljit Nagra, Billy Collins and Claudia Rankine.

This year the judge will be Nick Laird, who is himself a winner of a number of poetry and fiction awards including a Somerset Maugham Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Laird is currently the Seamus Heaney Centre’s Chair of Creative Writing based at Queens University, Belfast.

Last year’s Moth Poetry Prize was won by Damen O’Brien, an Australian poet.

The announcement of the shortlist will be made in March 2021 and each of the four shortlisted poems will be printed in The Moth’s spring issue. The award ceremony will take place in spring 2021 at Poetry Ireland in Dublin, and the winner will receive €6000.

Seamus Heaney The Face of NI Branding for the Centenary

Arguably the greatest Irish poet, Seamus Heaney is a name that most people are very familiar with. Now an image of the poet, the rights to which are held by Queen’s University Belfast is to be used as part of the branding for

the plans for the £3 million celebration to commemorate the centenary of Northern Ireland.

Whilst permission to use a portrait of Heaney has been given by the Seamus Heaney Centre, who owns the portrait, it is unclear if the poet’s family are in agreement.

The plans were formally launched earlier this week by the Secretary of State.

The colour painting of Heaney is just one of the images that it is hoped will be used to help mark this milestone. An image of 1972 Olympic medallist Mary Peters, together with other images that represent both business and tourism in the country are also included in the campaign.

Heaney was fiercely proud of his nationalist heritage and wrote the lines:

The remainder of the plans to mark the centenary have not yet been revealed and are not expected to be announced for a few months.

Opinions on what is being described as “branding” are very divided, with the DUP stating it shows how much the country has to celebrate. However, the DSLP have said that the complexities of Northern Ireland should not be reduced to a “branding exercise.



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