Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award

Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award

The Patrick Kavanagh Award is for emerging poets currently living in Ireland or with Irish heritage.

Entrants are asked to submit 20 poems for consideration having not yet published a collection of work. Typically, the award opens early summer in a given year with the award presentation taking place as part of the Patrick Kavanagh Weekend on the last weekend in September.

In 2021 the award celebrated 50 years since it’s inauguration by the Patrick Kavanagh Society. It has captured a diverse range of poetic voices at a time of transformative change in Ireland.  Recipients of the award include Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, Pat Boran and Sinead Morrisey amongst others. In 2023 Lauren O’Donovan received the award for her collection ‘Taxidermy Heart’.

The 2024 edition of the Patrick Kavanagh Award will open shortly for entries.  Our adjudicator, Victoria Kennefick is author of acclaimed collections ‘Eat Or We Both Starve‘ and ‘Egg/Shell’ published earlier this year.  The winning entry will be announced on the opening night of this years Kavanagh Weekend, Friday 27th September.  The winner receives €2,000 in recognition of their achievement.  The closing date for submissions is 5pm Thursday 1st August.

Download Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award Guidelines 2023

For more details check out the press release for the 2023 award.

Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award Recipients

  • 1971   Sean Clarkin
  • 1972   NO COMPETITION
  • 1973   Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
  • 1974   Paul Durcan
  • 1975   John Ennis
  • 1976   Aidan Carl Matthews
  • 1977   Thomas McCarthy
  • 1978   Rory Brennan
  • 1979   Michael Coady
  • 1980   Nuala Archer
  • 1981   Harry Clifton
  • 1982   Peter Sirr
  • 1983   Greg Delanty
  • 1984   Tom O'Malley
  • 1985   Roz Cowman
  • 1986   Padraig Rooney
  • 1987   Anthony Glavin
  • 1988   Angela Green
  • 1989   Pat Boran
  • 1990   Sinead Morrissey
  • 1991   Sheila O'Hagan
  • 1992   Aine Millar
  • 1993   Conor O'Callaghan
  • 1994   Celia de Fréine
  • 1995   William Wall
  • 1996   Bill Tinley
  • 1997   Fr Michael McCarthy
  • 1998   Carmel Fitzsimons
  • 1999   Eibhlin Nic Eochaidh
  • 2000   Joseph Woods
  • 2001   Ann Leahy
  • 2002   Alice Lyons
  • 2003   Manus McManus
  • 2004   Joseph Horgan
  • 2005   Dave Lordan
  • 2006   Enda Coyle-Green
  • 2007   Conor Carville
  • 2008   Geraldine Mitchell
  • 2009   Martin Dyar
  • 2010   Connie Roberts
  • 2011   Helena Nolan
  • 2012   Caoilinn Hughes
  • 2013   Rafiq Kathwari
  • 2014   John Fitzgerald
  • 2015   John Mee
  • 2016   Laurance O'Dwyer
  • 2017   Ruth Timmons
  • 2018   Conor Cleary
  • 2019   Scott McKendry
  • 2020   NO COMPETITION
  • 2021   Jerm Curtin
  • 2022   Ben Keatinge
  • 2023   Lauren O'Donovan
Sean Clarkin

Sean Clarkin

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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NO COMPETITION

NO COMPETITION

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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John Ennis

John Ennis

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Aidan Carl Matthews

Aidan Carl Matthews

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Thomas McCarthy

Thomas McCarthy

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Rory Brennan

Rory Brennan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Michael Coady

Michael Coady

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Nuala Archer

Nuala Archer

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Harry Clifton

Harry Clifton

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Peter Sirr

Peter Sirr

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Greg Delanty

Greg Delanty

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Tom O'Malley

Tom O'Malley

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Roz Cowman

Roz Cowman

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Padraig Rooney

Padraig Rooney

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Anthony Glavin

Anthony Glavin

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Angela Green

Angela Green

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Pat Boran

Pat Boran

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Sinead Morrissey

Sinead Morrissey

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Sheila O'Hagan

Sheila O'Hagan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Aine Millar

Aine Millar

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Conor O'Callaghan

Conor O'Callaghan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Celia de Fréine

Celia de Fréine

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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William Wall

William Wall

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Bill Tinley

Bill Tinley

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Fr Michael McCarthy

Fr Michael McCarthy

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Carmel Fitzsimons

Carmel Fitzsimons

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Eibhlin Nic Eochaidh

Eibhlin Nic Eochaidh

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Joseph Woods

Joseph Woods

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Ann Leahy

Ann Leahy

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Alice Lyons

Alice Lyons

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Manus McManus

Manus McManus

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Joseph Horgan

Joseph Horgan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Dave Lordan

Dave Lordan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Enda Coyle-Green

Enda Coyle-Green

Enda Coyle-Greene was born in Dublin and lives in Skerries.  The manuscript of her debut collection, Snow Negatives, won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2006 and was published by the Dedalus Press in 2007.  Her subsequent collections are Map of the Last (2013) and Indigo, Electric, Baby (2020) both also from the Dedalus Press.

Enda’s work has been published, anthologised and broadcast widely.  She holds an M.A. (Dist.) from the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University, Belfast and is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Fingal Poetry Festival.  She received a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in 2020.

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

It was my birthday. I was in a restaurant with my family and remember wondering, idly, who had won ‘the Kavanagh’ that year, never imagining that it might be me.  Two days later, when my mobile rang at work, I was expecting a call of a probably upsetting nature and bolstered myself to deal with that as I crossed the floor towards reception and privacy.

I could say that I was floored (almost literally) but that wouldn’t do justice to my reaction to Rosaleen Kearney’s calmly imparted news.  Anyone who was there with me on that otherwise normal Friday midday will attest to my stunned disbelief.  A board meeting was interrupted and the entire office came to a standstill on what is the busiest day of the week for a freight company. I drove home later with the back seat of my car filled with the flowers my workmates had bought me.

Afterwards, I described winning the Patrick Kavanagh Award as a watershed moment, one after which nothing was ever the same.   It is something I reach for on those days of doubt that bedevil every writer.  Kavanagh is a totemic poet for me, and the award is an honour I feel especially blessed by.  I was holding it close to my heart later that day when, inevitably, that other call came. I still do.

Publications

Snow Negatives (Dedalus, 2007) Winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award 2006

Map of the Last (Dedalus, 2013)

Indigo, Electric, Baby (Dedalus, 2020)

Conor Carville

Conor Carville

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Geraldine Mitchell

Geraldine Mitchell

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Martin Dyar

Martin Dyar

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Connie Roberts

Connie Roberts

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Helena Nolan

Helena Nolan

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Caoilinn Hughes

Caoilinn Hughes

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Rafiq Kathwari

Rafiq Kathwari

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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John Mee

John Mee

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Laurance O'Dwyer

Laurance O'Dwyer

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Ruth Timmons

Ruth Timmons

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Conor Cleary

Conor Cleary

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Scott McKendry

Scott McKendry

McKendry was born in Belfast in 1987. His writing has appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. His debut pamphlet, Curfuffle, was Poetry Book Society Autumn Choice 2019 and GUB, his first full collection, is forthcoming. After working as an electrician, McKendry returned to full-time education in 2011. His doctoral thesis – which was awarded the Miss Margaret Cuthbert Frazer Research Bursary for research into dialect in Irish poetry – was completed in 2021. McKendry is currently an Irish Research Council Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, where he’s writing a monograph on canon and aesthetics in northern Irish poetry.

Scotts winning collection was titled ‘Hammer and Environs’

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

The inimitable John Banville presented me with my award. After taking the stage to talk at some length about himself and then democracy, going back to Ancient Athens and thus well over time, he caused a huge row when he brought up the ‘Troubles’. An esteemed historian asked Banville what role his journalism played in ‘promulgating the plight of the northern minority’. The audience began to argue amongst itself, but their ire was directed mainly at the novelist, who sat there calm and defiant. I couldn’t breathe for laughing throughout. Banville eventually came down, and in a right old huff, after the parting words ‘I have won awards. They mean nothing’. I remain grateful for this, as it didn’t half take the edge off before I read a few poems. The night was an education, a living drama of contemporary Ireland, where cosmopolitanism crashed into Inniskeen to clash with parishioners. Being from Belfast – a web of parishes more than a cosmopolis – I loved it.

Publications

Curfuffle (The Lifeboat, 2019)

Work included in The future always makes me so thirsty: New Poets from the North of Ireland (Blackstaff, 2016), edited by Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly.

NO COMPETITION

NO COMPETITION

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

Publications

Jerm Curtin

Jerm Curtin

The winner of the 2021 Patrick Kavanagh Award was Jerm Curtin, from Boherbue in north-west Cork. He lives in Spain where he teaches English as a foreign language.

The judge, the poet and novelist Brian Lynch, said, ‘Although this year’s competition had to be held at short notice, the response was unexpectedly large. I think Covid and the isolation associated with it led to a great deal of soul-searching and a pent-up demand for communication, which the Kavanagh Award released.’

He described Jerm Curtin’s collection, ‘The Drowned City’, as a vision of Cork permanently under water due to climate change – cars in the streets are replaced with kayaks – accompanied by a tender study of Noreen Daly, a recognisable but fictitious aging woman from Kanturk living alone in the city.

‘Curtin combines the sensitivity to language of a poet with a novelist’s eye for character’, Brian Lynch said.

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Ben Keatinge

Ben Keatinge

Ben Keatinge was born in Dublin in 1973 and educated at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin where he is currently teaching Irish-American poetry. Among his academic publications is the collection, Making Integral: Critical Essays on Richard Murphy (Cork UP, 2019). He taught English literature in North Macedonia for nine years, travelling extensively in the Balkans, and his poetry has taken inspiration from the connections between Ireland and eastern Europe.

The judge, poet Noel Monahan, described Ben Keatinge’s collection, ‘The Wireless Station’, as subtle and sensitive, communicating the essential loneliness of writing and the isolation of the poet and poetry in general. The final poem in the collection a particular highlight. Of ‘Okapi’ (a rare animal found in the Congo), Monahan says ‘in many ways a subtle metaphor for the poet in isolation. The collection ending as it began, with a subtle sense of communication. Always branching outwards, always crossing borders …’

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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Ben’s poems have been published in The Irish Times, The Dalhousie Review, Archipelago, Agenda and anthologised in Writing Home (Dedalus, 2019), Hold Open the Door (UCD Press, 2020), Local Wonders (Dedalus, 2021) and Chasing Shadows (Lapwing, 2022).

Lauren O'Donovan

Lauren O'Donovan

Lauren O’Donovan is a writer and mother from Cork. In 2023, she won the Cúirt New Writing Prize in Poetry and was shortlisted for Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Award, Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition, and the Fish Poetry Prize. Lauren has work recently published or upcoming in: Rattle Magazine, Southword, The North, Skylight 47, Honest Ulsterman, The Waxed Lemon, and The Storms. In 2022, Lauren was awarded Arts Council funding and a Munster Literature Centre Mentorship with Afric McGlinchey. Lauren is a graduate of UCC, co-founder of Lime Square Poets, and an editor at HOWL New Irish Writing.

Thoughts on Winning the Kavanagh award

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