Congratulations on being selected for our shortlist from over 600 entries received internationally. You must all feel proud!
See you at the Award Night Friday 3rd July to discover who are our overall winners and placegetters for each Award.

The Awards are listed in the Alphabetical Order of the Poet, Playwright and Author

2020 Shortlist 

Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award

Poem Title


About. …

“Ireland’s Eye”

Dylan Brennan

In 2019 Ireland Chair of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin awarded Dylan Brennan the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award. His debut poetry collection, Blood Oranges, was published by The Dreadful Press in 2014 and was awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Award runner-up prize. In 2017 he collaborated on Guadalupe & Other Hallucinations, a series of exhibitions and an illustrated e-book, with Belfast-based visual artist Jonathan Brennan. In 2016 he co-edited Rethinking Juan Rulfo’s Creative World: Prose, Photography, Film with Prof. Nuala Finnegan. He has been invited to read at major literary festivals in Columbia, Nicaragua, Mexico, Italy, Ireland and USA and has twice been recipient of a Culture Ireland Travel Grant.

He lives in Mexico City. 


Maria Brick

Maria Brick has had work included in several short story collections. Shortlisted for the Colm Tóibín Short Story Award 2019. Winner of the Crime/Thriller short story category in ‘Woman’s Way’ 2019. Featured on R.T.E. Radio 1 ‘Sunday Miscellany.’  Her ‘Inspirational thoughts’ and poetry have been broadcast on Radio Kerry and at spoken words events.


Natalie Crick

Natalie Crick (Newcastle, UK) has poems published or forthcoming in Stand, The Moth, Banshee,  New Welsh Review and elsewhere. She is studying for an MPhil in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her poetry was shortlisted for The Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award 2018. This year one of Natalie’s poems was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020 on the theme of diversity and awarded second prize in the Newcastle Poetry Competition 2020. She is currently a creative-practitioner-in-residence at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University.

“Snow Flakes in the Long Grass, the last letter from Sylvia Welter to JD Salinger”

Steve Denehan

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and one collection with several collections forthcoming including “A Chandelier of Beating Hearts” from Salmon Poetry. Twice winner of Irish Times’ New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Westerly and Into The Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet and has been twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

“Better Lies”

NatalieAnn Holborow

Natalie Ann Holborow is a Swansea-born writer and winner of both the Terry Hetherington Award and Robin Reeves Prize in 2015. She has been shortlisted and commended for various other awards including the Bridport Prize, the National Poetry Competition and the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Her debut collection, ‘And Suddenly You Find Yourself’ (Parthian, 2017) was listed as one of Wales Arts Review’s ‘Best of 2017’. Her second poetry collection, ‘Small‘, is to be published by Parthian in 2020.

She has also been shortlisted for the Cursed Murphy Spoken Word Award being held via Zoom LIVE Saturday 4th July,

Click here to go to the Spoken Word Event.


Elisabeth Kelly

Elisabeth Kelly is an Early Years Teacher. She lives on a hill farm in the Scottish Borders with her young family and too many animals, and has only recently started to write poetry again. 

“Welcome Home”

Amanda Huggins

Amanda Huggins is the author of four collections of short fiction and poetry. She was a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award 2018, and her prize-winning story, ‘Red’, features in her latest collection, Scratched Enamel Heart. Her poetry chapbook, The Collective Nouns for Birds won the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet in 2020. Amanda grew up on the North Yorkshire coast, moved to London in the 1990s, and now lives in West Yorkshire.

“Making Light Work Of It”

Christopher M. James

This poem is about the village where I live in France and perhaps… many other villages.

Christopher M James, a dual British/French national, has been a prize winner in several competitions (Yeovil, Stroud, Poets meet Politics, Hanna Greally…), notably winning the Maria Edgeworth Literary Award and the Bailieborough Poetry Prize in 2019, and most recently the Sentinel LQ prize 2020. He has also been published in a wide variety of anthologies (Live Canon, WoLF, Canterbury Poet of the Year, Verve …).

Finding Some Polaris

Niamh Mac Cabe

Read about Niamh Mac Cabe’s literary accomplishments  by clicking here


Derek Sellen

Derek Sellen is from Canterbury, UK. His writing has won many awards over the years including first prizes in Poets Meet Politics, Poetry Pulse, Rhyme International, Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year and O’Bheal Five Words. It has also won prizes in Poetry on the Lake, Bristol International Short Story Award and the National Poetry Competition among others. He has written on a wide range of subjects from Indian cave-paintings to the myth of the Minotaur, from a Chinese street-seller to Spanish art.

His collection ‘The Other Guernica’ was published by Cultured Llama Publishing in 2018 and has been favourably reviewed  – ‘This is a work of outstanding richness and variety, imagination, thought, storytelling …’ Professor Janet Montefiore

Details of the collection can be found at:

2020 Shortlist

Billy Roche International Short Play Award




“The Search”

Ciara Cassoni

Ciara Cassoni has just won the Eamon Keane full length play Award at Listowel Writers Week for her play ‘Giddyup’s Way’ this June 2020. Her first play ‘Dope’ won the best new Playwright award and Ciara won the Best Actress Award at The Cork Arts Theatre’s Writers Week in 2014.  She has had a professional reading in the New Theatre Dublin and in 2019, she was accepted onto the Abbey Theatre’s ‘Abbey Begins’ programme.  Ciara works as a Drama Therapist and Drama Teacher in Dublin and Meath

Lost in Liverpool

Carmel Codd Leen

Carmel is an Enniscorthy native, presently in CoVid isolation in Philadelphia, USA. She was long listed in 2018 and 2019 and shortlisted in 2020 for the Billy Roche International Short Play Award. She is working on a novel – set where else, but in Wexford and Dublin !

“Thick As Thieves”

David McCall

David McCall is a man who has wasted many hours gazing out the window, dreaming and thinking “what if ……?”   He eventually climbed down from inside his head and joined the Haulbowline Theatre Group in Cork. Since then, David has been involved as an actor, musician, director, stage hand, lighting/sound technician and set designer. More recently he has also enjoyed success as a writer. He has had his plays performed at many amateur drama festivals, as well as the Dublin Fringe Festival and on Off Off Broadway locations in New York. He was short-listed for the RTE P.J. O’Connor radio drama awards.

“Head Queen & Fr Breen”

Paul Maher

Paul Maher’s  Head Queen & Fr Breen came from the search for how can we represent on stage what the GAA means to people, and in this instance, women.  And how far are people prepared to go out of the drive to be competitive?  The answer the play give to this question may be taken as a compliment by GAA people; or they may feel slandered.

Paul Maher’s plays have previously been short-listed for the Listowel Writer’s Week and PJ O Connor Awards, the Kenneth Branagh Award and at Wexford Literary Festival as well as at  Claremorris Fringe. His work has been performed at Clonmel & Cashel Arts Festivals as well as on local radio.

The Disappeared

Patricia Mahoney

Patricia Mahoney was born in Canada and moved to the UK to further her career in the performing arts. She has worked as a senior arts manager, artistic director, actor, director and playwright. Five of her plays have been professionally produced in her native Canada.

Patricia is also an award winning writer of short stories, poetry and flash fiction – many of which have been published in anthologies and online. Patricia’s first collection of stories, Full of Grace, with accompanying CD, was published in 2016. In 2019 Patricia won the Dee May Award for Fiction for her short story, Put on a Happy Face.

For more information, please visit by clicking here


Jack Matthews

Jack Matthews is a 24 year old emerging writer and actor from Wexford. He scripted the Heritage Park Digital series used by RTÉ and The Viqueen Saga for Crinniu na nÓg. His poem ‘You Nurses’ was published by the Mirror Online and ‘The Battle of Corish Park‘ aired on South East Radio.  Jack is currently on the Wexford Playwright Mentoring Programme 2020 where he is working on his first full-length play ‘The Unkillable Irishman‘.

“The Commission”

KathyAnn Murphy

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KathyAnn Murphy is a stage and screen designer, theatre writer and director from Wicklow. She holds a BA(Hons) degree in Design for Stage and Screen, Production Design from IADT and an MA Theatre Practice from UCD and The Gaiety School of Acting. KathyAnn has both directed and wrote her own work including verbatim piece Letting Go, first performed in the Boys School, Smock Alley Theatre, which is due to have a national tour later this year. Other directorial credits include We Shouldn’t Be Here, Soil, I Never Saw Another Butterfly and Shamrock Hill. She received a scholarship in 2019, to attend the Lir Academy’s Summer Intensive with Villanova University where she developed the script ‘Soil’ with tutor Thomas Conway. She has also worked as Design Assistant on Fishamble Theatre Company’s touring production of The Alternative. KathyAnn recently directed Shamrock Hill by Colette Wrafter as part of the 2020 Scene and Heard Festival in the Smock Alley Theatre, Main Space. She is currently working on a new play Typewriter and Webley, about revolutionary Winifred Carney. She is a drama facilitator and runs her own performing arts school ‘MAD’ in Arklow and also facilitates workshops and seminars in third level institutions. She is skilled in movement-based and devised theatre, with her main interest being in verbatim and documentary work. 

You can find her showreel and design work on Instagram: @kamdesignz


The Last Stand

Dominic Palmer

Writing and performing plays since his late teens, Dominic Palmer’s  first presented piece was a pantomime that toured Scottish schools, and from there has written sarcastic musicals, short dramas, dark comedies set in Limbo, Hell, and on stage and once told by a beaming audience member, “I have no idea what I just saw: a play, a sketch show, a happening? But I loved it.” 

A Director at heart, he has  written, performed and directed several sketch shows, most prominently cocreating the ‘Across the Boards Sketch Show,‘ which raised funds for the charity, Across. In 2017 he cocreated, directed and performed in ‘This Little Piggy,’ a children’s show that toured nationally, of which he is  very proud.

In 2015 and 2016, he was commissioned by the Wexford Opera House, as part of Bang On Productions, to write, direct, and perform in their Christmas shows, “Rudey’s Christmas Adventure” and “A Quest Before Christmas“. In 2018, my short play “Twenty Years Later” was shortlisted for the Billy Roche Short Play Award at the Wexford Literary Festival.

In June 2019 directed and performed in this play as part of the Wexford Literary Festival’s début ‘Plays in the Pub’ evening, where it received an extraordinarily warm response.

“The Bad Boy of the Sonnets”

Lawrence Rinkel

Before turning to playwriting full-time, Larry Rinkel taught college English in New Jersey and later worked as a technical writer. A lifelong devotee of art, theatre, film, and classical music, he has had work produced across the United States. His full-length A Kreutzer Sonata was awarded Best Play at the Secret theatre’s 2017 UNFringed Festival and received its Long Island premiere in December 2019. Other produced plays include adaptations from Chaucer and Dante, a farce about gender-blind casting in Shakespeare, another farce that takes place in a Chinese restaurant, several (mostly gay) romantic comedies, and a few 1-minute plays including a very cute one about Chopin’s Minute Waltz.

“Not For You”

Michael Yale

Michael trained as an actor at LAMDA and has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. In recent years he has discovered a passion for writing and directing.

Michael wrote as well as directed This Little Life of Mine at Park Theatre which received multi award nominations from Broadway World and The Off West End Awards, including Best New Production and Best Director.

He went on to direct the critically acclaimed Late Company at The Finborough and Trafalgar Studios (Terrific’ – The Times / “Utterly transfixing” – The Telegraph). The show was shortlisted for Best New Play at the Broadway World Awards and was a finalist at the Offies.

Other writing includes In the Thrice Ninth Kingdom at Soho and Tristan Bates and an adaptation of Brieux’s Maternity at Riverside Studios. His work focusses on intimate stories on universal themes that instantly resonate with modern audiences.

Michael is currently developing his first screen play, Hush Baby, offering a very personal and unique insight into the emotionally charged world of adoption.

2020 Shortlist 

Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award

The ten shortlisted stories have gone to the Judges who will determine first, second and third place. The Competition is blind judged and as yet no decision has been reached. To avoid any bias, at this stage the authors names have been withheld at this time. The names will be added after a decision has been reached

The Hessian Bag

Eamann Breen

Eamann Breen is a Irish London storyteller and playwright. His play SHIN-AID was a 2019 Druid Theatre Debut at the Galway International Arts Festival and is in production for broadcast on RTÉ Drama on One in 2020. Eamann’s most recent play THE WASPS was presented at Player-Playwrights in London in March 2020 and is currently working on a collection of short stories called WHISKEY & TINSEL.

The Rabbit And The Moon

Mauk Donnabhain
The Rabbit and the Moon highlights the important issue of ‘caring for the carers’ – all too often carers are forgotten about, as they grapple with their own mental and physical well-being, whilst caring for their loved ones.
ABOUT: Mauk Donnabhain was born in Donegal, but currently lives in London. He is an emerging writer, whose work has previously been published in The Blue Nib, Cold Coffee Stand, Pendora magazine and The Galway Review.


Gavan Duffy

Gavan Duffy writes poetry and fiction. he is a member of the Scurrilous Salon Writers group and has previously published in, Crannog, The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, Boyne Berries, Skylight 47, Stony Thursday Book, New Irish Writing, South Bank Poetry Journal and North West Words among others. he was shortlisted for a Hennessy Award in Emerging Poetry in 2015.

Is It A Bad Time?

Emma Flynn

Emma Flynn is a Kerry writer based in Germany. Her fiction, non-fiction, reviews and essays have appeared in Banshee, Vox, The Cardiff Review, The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times and others. She was longlisted for the 2019 Berlin International Writing Award and shortlisted for the 2018 New Irish Writing in Germany Awards. She is working on her debut novel. 

The Fish Tank

David Gray-Clough

I was born in Yorkshire with an Irish mother and a Yorkshire father – a volatile mix! As children, my brother and I spent idyllic summers in Ireland, a wonderful lost world of roaming all day for miles and staying out until dark.  I attended Queen’s University Belfast, where I was lucky enough to be taught by Seamus Heaney. I have always wanted to be a writer and have had some successes in play and short story competitions. I taught for many years, a job I loved. I continued to write, but the kids always came first. When I married, my wife always came first! Then I became a dad and the kids always came first. Somehow I never had time to spend on getting work published. Now I am retired I can do just that.

Over the years I have written many plays and stories, and they have always been well-received. ‘A breath of fresh air’ said the judge at the National Student Drama Festival. I had plays performed at Newcastle, Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill, Harrogate Theatre and Skipton as well as at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where we sold out every night for two weeks (a rarity which rescued the family finances!)  I was an associate writer at the Royal Court Theatre in London. YORKIE BOYS, a semi-autobiographical novel, was published in 2019 to some five star reviews. The sequel YORKIE BOYS AND GIRLS is about to be published.

His second book YORKIE BOYS AND GIRLS – a story of growing up in the 1950s was published 3rd July, 2020 . It is the sequel to YORKIE BOYS (also growing up in the 1950s ( 2019). Both are available on Amazon and (when the shops reopen) at independent booksellers (just ones in Yorkshire, I’m afraid.) Both have an Irish dimension too.

Eating Unobserved

Amanda Huggins

Also shortlisted for Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award, 2020. 

Amanda Huggins is the author of four collections of short fiction and poetry. She was a runner-up in the Costa Short Story Award 2018, and her prize-winning story, ‘Red’, features in her latest collection, Scratched Enamel Heart. Her poetry chapbook, The Collective Nouns for Birds won the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet in 2020. Amanda grew up on the North Yorkshire coast, moved to London in the 1990s, and now lives in West Yorkshire

Show Me The Death

J. Allston James

The story’s genesis is an experience 50 years ago, when a friend of mine and I were paid to exhume a coffin and drive it to another cemetery. What could go wrong?” 

ABOUT:  Attic Light was one of the first novels to deal with soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. His stage-plays have won awards in the UK and U.S.  His poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American literary journals. He is professor emeritus of English & Humanities at a college in California and continues to teach Shakespeare.

Loneliness Of Fear

Bernie Kirwan

Bernie is a 61 year old mother, wife and nurse.She loves to write and draws  on her nursing experiences in her many roles over the years. She has written and published  numerous articles on health and wellbeing which are available on her blog page.         
She has recently completed the first draft of her fictional historical novel and hopes to find a publisher. 
Writing is as essential to her as breathing.

A Touch Of Affection

James Lawless

James Lawless was born in Dublin and is the author of the well-received novels Peeling Oranges, For Love of AnnaThe AvenueFinding Penelope and Knowing Women, and an acclaimed study of modern poetry Clearing The Tangled Wood: Poetry as a way of seeing the world for which he received an arts’ bursary. He is also the author of a highly praised children’s collection of stories The Adventures of Jo Jo and a prose and poetic meditation on noise Noise & Sound Reflections. Awards he has won include the Scintilla Welsh Open Poetry Competition, the Cecil Day Lewis Award, the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy and 

Willesden Herald award nominations, the WOW Award and a Biscuit International Prize for short stories. A collection of his poems Rus in Urbe was published in 2012 and he was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for fiction in 2014. Many of his works have been translated into several languages. He divides his time between County Kildare and West Cork. You can read more about the author at

The Shooter

Reenagh McCall

Reenagh grew up in the family business at the Classic Cinema, surrounded by storytellers.

She has a B.A. in English and Greek and Roman Civilisation. A Higher Diploma in Arts Administration and a Masters in Film Studies.

She wrote the music and lyrics for “Mr. Grey’ the musical and wrote, co-wrote and directed a number of short scripts and films while at UCD.  Notably,  ‘Ar Chúl an Tií, which was selected by Jim Sheridan as film of the year.

Reenagh studied screenwriting under the guidance of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She received an award by Screen Training Ireland for screenplay development and was selected to participate on the year long Writer / Producer / Director  programme with Filmbase.

As a Designer,  Reenagh has twice been finalist at the Irish Designer of the Year Awards and beat over 500 internationally  renowned designers to become the first Irish recipient of the ‘Ultra’, “Most Creative Design Award in Paris.

Reenagh McCall lives in the Wexford countryside with her Italian husband and two teenage children, also involved in the Creative and Performing Arts.

Reenagh is currently working on her first Novel and a Collection of Short Stories, and writing remains her enduring passion across various genres and styles from Songwriting to Screenwriting and Flash Fiction to Features.