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Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year: THE WINNERS

The fiction winner is Rachael Hegarty from Dublin for her short story 'Betty'. Rachael receives a cash prize of €300 and her short story manuscript will be read by Doire Press.

The poetry winner and 2014 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year is Ruth Quinlan, Galway for her poems 'The Passing', 'Home for the Holidays', and 'Painted Lady'. Ruth receives a cash prize of €700; her poetry manuscript will be read by Salmon Poetry; and she will be a Featured Reader at an Over The Edge: Open Reading during the first half of 2015. Ruth also receives a basket of books from Kenny’s Bookshop.

Highly commended in Poetry:

Maurice Devitt for ‘The Man at the Shop’

Victoria Kennefick for ‘Shanagarry’, ‘Lighthouse’, & ‘Writer's Retreat’

Angela Carr for ‘Bone Yard’, ‘CAT Scan’, ‘July, a Storm’  

Highly commended in Fiction:

Rory Duffy for ‘Young Robbins Don't Have Red Breasts’

Edel Burke for ‘Fractured’

Averil Meehan for ‘Chapter One’

You can read the shortlist here.

We thank our judge Eleanor Hooker and our sponsors: Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop; ISupply Quay Street; Ward’s Hotel; Derek  Nolan TD; Clare Daly TD; and Kenny’s Bookshop & Gallery.

Citation by Judge, Eleanor Hooker

"It was a great honour to be asked to judge the 2014 Over the Edge, New Writer Competition. Thanks to Kevin and Susan for asking me.

Writing is a transformative act; a writer takes a blank page and scratches it with words that illustrate a world peopled by characters her/his reader get to know, come to care about, or even be repulsed by, but whom, if the writer has done her/his job, the reader will continue to wonder about, after the last full stop.

Often, what successful poems, short stories and novels, have in common, is an arresting first line, verse, paragraph. However, once the writer has caught the reader’s attention, it is her/his job to carry it through, to deliver the best story/poem for that piece of writing. All of the entries on the shortlist carried through on their promise.

Writing that comes across as an academic exercise in word arrangement, will cause the reader’s bullshit alarm to sound, and that alarm may means the reader will not follow the writer to their last full stop.

2014 Over the Edge Poetry Winner &  Overall winner – Poetry Ruth Quinlan, Galway. Poems - The passing, Home for the Holidays, Painted Lady
The three poems in this submission resonated with me immediately. The surprise is most definitely in the turn of image; whilst the poet’s language works on behalf of the idea. Leaving prosaic noisiness behind, the words, against the natural ego of language, allow themselves to serve.  Strong emotion writes quiet, and in these poems, it hushes, it allows air to ventilate a heavy heart, it allows space between the words, room for the reader to enter, to infer.

That’s what I want from a poem; the words to work associations, ideas, stories in my imagination, not draw me back to the page, to its own cleverness.

From Home for the Holidays (a home and a history, awaiting the return of a family long left, embraces them like the love from a parent)

…to gather

and ignore the chimed appeals

of our half-filled parish church


stamp our feet and huff on fingers in the hallway,

scattering the playful ghosts of childhood selves

We fling open windows and doors,

airing the house in gulping draughts,

allowing it to breathe and break

the fragile seals woven by spiders

jealously squatting in our absense

Painted Lady is about the catastrophe of aging. Sentimentality is a heartless beast; this is not a sentimental poem, it is filled, however, with the relentless heartlessness of time on the Painted Lady.

Her face and hair, once Titianesque

in rosebud curves and auburn curls

have become the illustrations

of a tattered colouring book

2014 Over the Edge fiction winner is Rachael Hegarty, Dublin.

Story Entry - 'Betty'

Betty is an engaging story, and like the telling of history from below, it takes a character that might be as invisible in real life, as they are to most of the other characters in this short story. 

The telling is such that we willingly attach ourselves to Betty as she takes us on her road trip round the 8th floor of the Central Bank, we want to help her when her trolley snags on the foyer rug (a lovely detail).

A writerly detail that caught my attention, is the movement in the story, there is some summary, (it’s nearly impossible to avoid, though we’re constantly told it should be avoided in a short story), but there is little of what James Woods call an aspic of arrest, Rachel Hegarty has Betty move and act, there is cause and effect.

Writing has a moral obligation, a character should not be debased, or introduced for the advancement of the story, (you may wonder), if they are created, it must be for themselves. I don’t believe Betty is a vehicle for the author’s agenda on class, but as a consequence of writing about Betty, we readers recognize attitudes to class.

I like that Betty is not depicted as a perfect human being, it makes her a perfect character. When she is humiliated, she acts, takes an ultimate and surprising action that absolves us of any pity we might otherwise be compelled to feel for her.

I am certain we will be hearing more of these two writers; I look forward to following their careers.

Highly commended in Poetry:

1. Maurice Devitt – Poem, The Man at the Shop

This poem is mysterious, beautiful, surreal, with echoes for me of Popa, Simic, Helen Ivory. The poet should beware not to become opaque and lose the reader.

2. Victoria Kennefick – Poems, Shanagarry, Lighthouse, Writer's Retreat

Three striking poems, what an astounding line ‘stones/are born like grudges’, The poet should avoid overused poetic tropes, these poems own originality, trust that.

3.  Angela Carr – Poems, Bone Yard, CAT Scan, July, a Storm

Three excellent poems, with stunning opening lines that absolutely grab the reader. CAT scan is an astonishing poem, well achieved. Be cautious of over-wording a thought; be confident that your turn of image will carry it.

Highly commended in Prose:

1. Rory Duffy – Short Story, Young Robbins Don't Have Red Breasts

Utterly convincing voice of the child, beautifully observed. This story has serious potential, however, beware of formatting, layout and language, it could affect whether a reader will persist.

2. Edel Burke – Short Story, Fractured

A brilliantly told story that leads the reader and exposes the dangers of their assumptions. The writer should be on their guard against hackneyed writing or clich├ęd characters.

3. Averil Meehan – Story, Chapter One

This story holds us from the outset, it’s ending doesn’t maintain the promise of the opening pages. Don’t go for easy resolutions, the best stories are those unwillingly told. I wonder should the author consider keeping this a short story (the title is Chapter One…could one sustain this throughout a novel?)"

2015 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year to be judged by Dave Lordan NOW TAKING ONLINE PAYMENTS

2015 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition



Major sponsor Charlie Byrne's Bookshop

Other sponsors to date:

Closing date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

If you make your payment online before midnight on August 5th, we will accept your entry. And we will accept all entries postmarked August 5th or earlier, even if they arrive after that date. Extracts from novels absolutely accepted. As well, of course, as short stories and poems.

In 2015 Over The Edge is continuing its exciting annual international creative writing competition. Since its inception in 2007, it has grown to become one of the most important competition’s for emerging writers in Ireland and internationally. The competition is open to both poets and fiction writers worldwide. The total prize money is €1,000. The best fiction entry will win €300. The best poetry entry will win €300. One of these will then be chosen as the overall winner and will receive an additional €400, giving the overall winner total prize money of €700 and the title Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2015. The 2015 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a Featured Reader at Ireland’s leading literary reading series, the Over The Edge: Open Readings in Galway City Library, on a date to be scheduled in Winter 2015/16. Salmon Poetry will read, without commitment to publish, a manuscript submitted to them by the winner in the poetry category. Doire Press will read, without commitment to publish, a manuscript of short stories submitted to them by the winner in the fiction category. The overall winner will receive a hamper of books for the famous Kenny’s Bookshop of Galway, Ireland.The winner in the poetry category will have one of the poems from her or his winning entry published in the Spring 2016 issue of Skylight47 magazine.

Entries should be sent to Over The Edge, New Writer of the Year competition, 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland. Entries will be judged anonymously, so do not put your name on your poem(s) or stories. Put your contact details on a separate sheet. If you live in Ireland and wish to be informed of the results by post, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. OTHERWISE, YOU DO NOT NEED TO ENCLOSE A STAMPED ADDRESSED ENVELOPE. Criteria: fiction of up to three thousand words, three poems of up to forty lines, or one poem of up to one hundred lines. Any of the aforementioned is one entry. Multiple entries are acceptable but each must be accompanied by a fee. 

The fee for one entry is €10. The fee for multiple entries is €7.50 per entry e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on. Fee payable by cheque or  money order to Over The Edge. The competition is open to writers worldwide. We accept payment in Dollars, Sterling, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars and so on. Writers from outside the Euro area can calculate the payment for their entry here WE ALSO NOW ACCEPT ONLINE PAYMENTS. See the below for details. If you pay the entry fee online you must still post us a hard copy of your entry/entries and enclose with it a note saying ‘entry fee paid online’. PLEASE INCLUDE THE EXACT NAME IN WHICH THE ONLINE PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE SO THAT WE CAN VERIFY.

To take part you must be at least sixteen years old by September 1st 2014 and not have a book published or accepted for publication in the genre in which you enter. Chapbooks/ pamphlets excepted. Entries must not have been previously published or be currently entered in any other competition. The closing date is Wednesday, August 5th, 2015. A long-list will be announced at the August Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, August 27th, 2015 (6.30-8pm). THE LONGLIST WILL BE AVAILABLE, BEFORE THAT, AT CHARLIE BYRNE’S BOOKSHOP FROM 5PM ON THURSDAY AUGUST 27TH.  The shortlist will be announced at the September Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, September 24th, 2015 (6.30-8pm). The winners will be announced at the October Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 (6.30-8pm).

Dave Lordan is the judge for the 2015 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year. Dave is the first writer to win Ireland’s three national prizes for young poets. He is a former holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award, the Kavanagh Award, and the Strong Award. His collections of poetry are The Boy in the Ring (Salmon, 2007); Invitation to a Sacrifice (Salmon, 2010) and Lost Tribe of The Wicklow Mountains (Salmon, 2014).  In 2013 Wurm Press published The First Book of Frags, a collection of Dave’s short fiction. He is a renowned performer of his own work, which the Irish Times called ‘as brilliant on the page as is in performance’, and has read his work by invitation at festivals and venues across Europe and North America.  His poems are regularly broadcast on Irish national radio and he is a contributing editor for Irish literary magazine, The Stinging Fly. He is a founding member and editor of experimental and cross-genre arts journal He blogs on poetry and creativity at 

The judge for 2016 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year will be Niamh Boyce.

The judge for 2017 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year will be Nicki Griffin.


Competition payments

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Over The Edge Open Reading with Harry Browne, Henry McDonald & PJ Moore PLUS the announcement of the winners of the 2014 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year

Harry Browne, Henry McDonald & PJ Moore for October Over The Edge: Open Reading PLUS the announcement of the winners of the 2014 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year

The October ‘Over The Edge: Open Reading’ takes place in Galway City Library on Thursday, October 30th, 6.30-8.00pm. The Featured Readers are PJ Moore, Henry McDonald & Harry Browne. This is a special Over The Edge event in that all three featured writers primarily write non-fiction. There will as usual be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. This month’s open-mic will showcase, among others, some of the poetry students from this year’s MA in Writing at NUI Galway.  The evening will also see the announcement of the winners in this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition, which received a large number of entries again this year. This year’s competition judge is Eleanor Hooker. 

Harry Browne is the author The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power), a critical study of Bono’s extra-musical activities. In it, he criticises the singer's support for global capitalism and US militarism. Harry Browne’s journalism has appeared in CounterPunch, the Irish Times, Village magazine, the Sunday Times, Irish Daily Mail, Evening Herald, Sunday Tribune, Sunday Business Post and The Dubliner. He has made numerous appearances as a guest on radio and television programmes, served on the steering committee of the Irish Anti-War Movement in 2003-04 and is a member of Gaza Action Ireland. He has been a consulting editor on the multicultural newspaper Metro Eireann. Born in Italy in 1963, he grew up in the United States with activist parents: his mother, Flavia Alaya, is a historic-preservationist who has also campaigned for rights for immigrant detainees; his father, Henry J Browne (who died in 1980), was a radical priest in New York City.

Henry McDonald's childhood and teenage years were dominated by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Growing up in the Markets - a working-class Catholic district of central Belfast - he witnessed IRA men and British soldiers being shot down outside his door. His home was smashed up by the British troops on Internment Day in 1971, then bombed by loyalist terrorists four years later. But despite being caught up in the maelstrom of incipient civil war, McDonald managed escape his background. He is now the Ireland correspondent of The Guardian newspaper and the author of several books, including Colours: Ireland - From Bombs to Boom and INLA - Deadly Divisions, which he co-authored with the now deceased Jack Holland. Henry also writes fiction. 
Henry McDonald
PJ Moore is an actor and writer currently living in Galway. Having previously taken a creative writing class with Susan Millar DuMars and a poetry workshop with Kevin Higgins, PJ is now the author of the no nonsense book of humorously given financial advice, offering financial freedom on a shoestring for all, 'The Justified Tight B****rd's Guide To Life' which is available online at and from all good bookshops. The book includes well over 300 witty money saving tips, written by an ordinary man for the ordinary man and woman. Copies will be on sale on the evening. 

As usual there will be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. This month’s open-mic will feature, among others, some of the poetry students from the MA in Writing at NUI Galway.  New readers are always especially welcome. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars. For further details phone 087-6431748.

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of Galway City Council, Poetry Ireland, & The Arts Council.