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New writing awards to honour leading poet Mairtin Crawford


Influential: Mairtin Crawford

Influential: Mairtin Crawford

Influential: Mairtin Crawford

The life and work of the man described by award-winning poet Michael Longley as "a saint of poetry" will be celebrated with the launch of the Mairtin Crawford Awards.

The Awards for Poetry and Short Story 2020 are aimed at writers working towards their first full collection of poetry, short stories or a novel.

Both published and unpublished writers from all over the world are invited to submit poems or a short story. The only stipulations are that entrants must not yet have published a full collection of poetry, short stories or a novel, and entries must be in the English language.

Crawford co-founded and edited the Big Spoon literary arts magazine in the 1990s, was production and arts editor of Fortnight magazine, was a creative writing tutor at Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre for eight years, and was appointed director of Between The Lines Arts Festival for 2004.

Sophie Hayles, CEO of the Crescent Arts Centre, said: "As a creative writing tutor, writer-in-residence and director of the Between The Lines festival, Mairtin Crawford was a huge part of The Crescent Arts Centre family before his untimely death in 2004.

"Although the 10th Belfast Book Festival will not take place in June 2020 due to the current public health crisis, we are delighted to still be running the Mairtin Crawford Awards as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting emerging talent."

Naomi Foyle, one of the poetry judges and a close friend and colleague of Mairtin, said: "While it's sad about the cancellation of this year's Belfast Book Festival, it seems fitting that Mairtin's Award will be energising aspirant writers at this time of enormous social change."

The deadline for submissions is midnight on May 13. The winner for each award will receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a three-night stay at the Co Down writing and reading retreat, The River Mill.

For more information, visit https://belfastbookfestival.com/mairtin-crawford-award

Belfast Telegraph