Three of Ulster's leading writers have been honoured with major prizes from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Novelists Carlo Gebler and Glenn Patterson, and playwright Damian Gorman have each been given £15,000 to develop new writing projects.
"Each writer has already made a notable contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland and to the positive cultural profile of the region abroad," said Arts Council chief executive Roisin McDonough. "Our support will now help them to produce work of lasting value and establish themselves nationally and internationally as leading writers of the generation."
Enniskillen-based Gebler, who has worked as writer-in-residence at HMP Maghaberry since 1997, will use the award to develop a number of full-length plays and a script based on his experiences of teaching in jail.
Patterson's novels, which include Fat Lad and That Which Was, have established him at the forefront of contemporary prose writers in Ireland. Many of his books are set in and around his native Belfast, and he intends to write a historical novel spanning an entire century of life in the city.
And Newcastle-born Damian Gorman, who received an MBE in 1998 for his services to the arts, will develop an ambitious script about the 'Great Revival', a religious awakening which swept through the country in the 1850s, as well as a musical play focusing on depression.
He said: "The Arts Council award will allow me to open up my shoulders and have a real fearless go at developing a couple of projects."
Other local artists who have received the award in the past include Rita Duffy and Susan MacWilliam, as well as Patricia Craig, whose 'Ulster Anthology' was published last month, and Brian Irvine, who recently won a prestigious British Composer Award.