Mayo and Ballina, in particular has much to be proud of in terms of local creative writing, and the Ballina Salmon Festival Junior Literary Awards have been revived this year to celebrate this talent, and to foster and encourage a love of writing among our young people – which ultimately contributes to a vibrant local literary culture.
The Awards, which were a feature of the festival in the past and are being revived this year by committee members Ger Hogan and Lizann Gorman will focus initially on primary school writers. Inspired by the success of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this award is billed as the HaHoLit (Half Hour Literary) Award, where children are challenged to set aside just half an hour to create a short story or poem in English or Irish.
The awards have been kindly sponsored by Paul Brennan, Solicitor (main sponsor), Eason Ballina, Creative Writing Mayo and An Teanga Bheo School of Irish, Ballina.
Who can enter?
The Junior Literary Awards are open to children under 13 years and the categories include both short story and poetry.
Awards will be made in both English and Gaeilge.
- Short Story (Max 1000 words)
- Irish Short Story (Max 1000 words)
- Irish poetry
How to enter
Entry forms can be downloaded here or collected from the Ballina Salmon Festival office.
Entries are to be submitted to the Ballina Salmon Festival Office on Pearse Street by Saturday 1st July, and shortlisting will take place the following week. The successful shortlist will be published on the Festival Website and local media outlets, and parents/guardians will be contacted directly.
The cost of entry is €2, or €5 for three entries.
A prize-giving ceremony will take place in Ballina Arts Centre at 7pm on Thursday 6th July. Winners will have the opportunity to present their work in front of an audience.
The judges this year are local writer Helen Falconer for short fiction, poet Terry McDonagh for poetry and Orla Ní Slaic of An Teanga Bheo for all Irish entries.
There will be a number of prizes awarded on the night including:
- A workshop in An Teanga Bheo School of Irish
- A voucher for a winning school for entry to Tumble Jungle
- A Workshop in Creative Writing Pass, E
- Easons Book Vouchers and
- The winning title of the Junior Bard of Ballina.
Winning entries will be published on the Ballina Salmon Festival website. We look forward to reading your entries!
Pictured with local children is main sponsor Paul Brennan Solicitor accompanied by Ballina Salmon Festival PRO, Anne-Marie Flynn and event organisers Ger (Faith) Hogan and Lizann Gorman.