Winner of the Percy French 2018 announced

Peter Goulding, Dublin, Ireland has won the Percy French Prize 2018 with his poem 'My Enemy'.

Competition 2018

The shortlist for the Percy French Competition has been announced:

Percy French Prize 2018, Shortlist



Name of Poem

Michael Coy

Malaga, Spain

Shaving Ryan’s Privates

Peter Goulding

Dublin, Ireland

My Enemy

Anne Marie Kennedy

Galway, Ireland

Full Circle

Sean Lyons

Kerry, Ireland

Michael D and the VIP

Gaberiel Mc Donnell

Meath, Ireland

Bachelor Pete

Padraig Mc Ginn

Leitrim, Ireland

Election Fever

Jimmy Rafferty

Armagh, N Ireland


Michael Swan

OX, England

See you around

Read the Shortlisted Poems

Competition now CLOSED, no longer accepting entries

Prize €300

8 shortlisted poets

Entries will be accepted from 1st September 2017 and the judge is Margaret Hickey

Shortlisted poets, of which there will be eight,  who read their poem at the competition receive a €100 reading fee.

Percy French Competition


William Percy French (1 May 1854 – 24 January 1920) was born at Cloonyquin House, near Elphin Co. Roscommon, only a few miles from Strokestown. He was one of Ireland’s most popular songwriters and entertainers in his day, writing primarily in comic verse. He is also well known for his landscape watercolours.

Writers are invited to compete for the Percy French Prize at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival. This is the category where humour is prime. The poems here are intended to be recited to a live audience, so they need to be easily understood on first hearing. And they need to have a lightness of touch combined with a wry take on life. If you want to get a flavour of the sort of tone the judges will be hoping to find, you should read through some of Percy French’s well-loved verses, or listen to his songs.

Some examples: Are Ye Right There, Michael, Are Ye Right? Abdul Abulbul Amir. Eileen Og. Shlathery’s Mounted Fut.

We don’t want you to ape Percy French, of course, but we hope to find a confident and original entry that raises a laugh and raises the spirits.

Margaret Hickey

Judge: Margaret Hickey

Judge: Margaret Hickey lives beside the Shannon in east Galway.  Her first book, Irish Days: Oral Histories of the Twentieth Century, was published by Kyle Cathie in 2001.     Her new book, Ireland's Green Larder, a social history if Ireland as seen through the prism of food and drink, will be published by Unbound in 2018.   She is a member of two creative writing groups - Portumna Pen Pushers and The Peers - and is Vice Chair of Portumna Arts Group.  She is also a keen amateur painter and supporter of the Irish Workhouse Centre.  She is a previous winner of this prize.

Online Entry