Donegal Poet Nominated for Ledbury Hellens Poetry Prize

Ledbury Poetry (UK) has announced that Donegal poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin is among the poets shortlisted for the 4th Ledbury Hellens Poetry Prize for best second collection published in Britain or Ireland in 2021 or 2022. This prize aims to support and encourage poets at the ‘mid-career’ stage, with a prize of £5000 for the winning second collection.

Speaking of Ní Churreáin’s nominated work, judges Togara Muzanenhamo and Penelope Shuttle said “Drawing inspiration from the concept of restorative justice – Annemarie Ní Churreáin’s The Poison Glen entwines legend from the Gaeltacht landscape with moments from history to depict the systematic mistreatment of unmarried or abandoned mothers and the children born to these women. Ní Churreáin revisits locations of state “care” institutions in Ireland over the past hundred years and beyond with an inquisitive lens that requires us to ask what the left-behind sites remember or what sense of the child remains after trauma. The Poison Glen stands as a literary monument to silenced voices”.

Ní Churreáin is originally from Cloich Cheann Fhaola in the northwest of the county. Her books include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017), Town (The Salvage Press, 2018) and The Poison Glen (The Gallery Press, 2021). She is a recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s Next Generation Artist Award and a co-recipient of The Markievicz Award. She is Poetry Editor at The Stinging Fly Magazine. Her most recent literary project, a limited edition poetry pamphlet titled Ghostgirl, explores the Stranorlar Workhouse and Stranorlar County Home (also known as Stranorlar Mother and Baby Home). The project was a commission of the Donegal Archives Service as part of the Donegal Decade of Centenaries Programme.


According to co-judge Togara Muzanenhamo “The award is particularly special because it celebrates the accomplishment of what can be an artistic hurdle for some poets – compiling a second collection. There are numerous prizes for ‘first collections’ and ‘best collections’ but few focus on the pivotal role of a poets’ second book – a book that may highlight a poet’s maturing voice or solidify their career. I am excited at the prospect of reading work that will confidently explore and freely navigate language and introduce us to voices that will shape the future of poetry”.

The winner of the 4th Ledbury Hellens Poetry Prize will be announced on December 4 at 7pm at an online prize giving ceremony hosted by the Ledbury Centre.


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