Judges 2017

The Strokestown International Prize

Paddy Bushe


Paddy Bushe, who lives in Kerry, is a poet, editor and translator. He has published ten collections of poetry, seven in English and two in Irish, as well as four books of translations. He has also edited Voices at the World’s Edge: Irish Poets on Skellig Michael (Dedalus 2010). Ó Choill go Barr Ghéaráin (Coiscéim 2013) is a translation into Irish of the collected poems of Sorley MacLean. A new collection, On A Turning Wing, was recently published by Dedalus.  Among his awrds are the Michael Hartnett Award and Duais an Oireachtais. He has had a long association with the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, as attendee, prize-winner and director.. Paddy Bushe is a member of Aosdána.

Maura Dooley

Maura Dooley

Maura Dooley’s most recent collection of poetry is The Silvering (2016). Anthologies she has edited include The Honey Gatherers: Love Poems and How Novelists Work. She was Poet-in-Residence at the Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton in 2015. Her poems from the residency are published as a pamphlet: A Quire of Paper and she also commissioned and edited a sister-pamphlet, in which other contemporary poets respond to the work of Jane Austen All My Important Nothings. In 2014 she published versions (with Elhum Shakerifa) of work by the exiled Iranian poet Azita Ghahreman. She has received an Eric Gregory Award, a Cholmondeley Award, twice been short-listed for the TSEliot Award and twice for the Forward Single Poem Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London

Duais Filíochta Dhúbhglas de hÍde

Cathal Ó Searcaigh


Cathal Ó Searcaigh was born and lives still in the shadow of Mount Errigal in the Donegal Gaeltacht. In the meantime he and his poetry have travelled widely, and his work is both nationally and internationally celebrated. His poetry has been widely translated by many authors. Among his awards are Duais an Oireachtais, The Irish Times Literature Award and The Ireland Fund Literary Award. His most significant publications include Na Buachaillí Bána (Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 1996), Ag Tnúth leis an tSolas (Cló Iar-Chonnachta, 2000), Aimsir Ársa (Arlen House, 2013), An Fear Glas: The Green Man (Arlen House, 2015) and An Bhé Ghlas (Leabhar Breac, 2015). He is the Irish Language Editor of the international journal Irish Pages and is a member of Aosdána.

The Percy French Prize

Margaret Hickey


Margaret Hickey

Margaret Hickey won the Political Satire prize in the very first Strokestown International Poetry Competition, back in 1999, and has been an occasional judge and a dedicated visitor to the festival ever since. In recent years, the comic verse category has been reshaped as the Percy French competition and if the standard of past years is maintained, this is certain to be a highlight of the festival.

She is a writer who lives beside the Shannon, and she plans to follow her first book, Irish Days, with a history of Ireland seen through the prism of food and drink, with the provisional title Ireland’s Green Larder, to be published in 2017.

Roscommon Poets Prize

Jessamine O Connor

Jessamine O Connor

Jessamine O Connor lives near Lough Gara and facilitates the 2016 ‘Epic Award’ winners The Hermit Collective, and the weekly Wrong Side of the Tracks Writers.

She has won the iYeats and Francis Ledwidge awards; been short-listed in the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year; Hennessy Literary Award; Dead Good Poetry; Bradshaw Books; Leaf Books; and Red Line Book Festival competitions.

She is currently ‘Featured Poet International’ for Muse Pie Press (US), and nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize.

She judged the 2015 New Roscommon Writing Award, and her poems are published in Ireland and abroad by: Agenda; PoetryNZ; The Irish Times; Irish Independent; The Stinging Fly; Burning Bush2; Skylight47; Ropes; Crannog; The Galway Review; The Roscommon Herald; North West Words; Abridged; Shot Glass Journal; Tridae (in translation to Spanish); and the books Yeats 150; Ireland First; Balancing Act; and The Colour of Saying (a Dylan Thomas anthology).

Her poem ‘Brothers 7th May 1916’ was performed at the Sheehy Skeffington Human Rights School 2016, and again in King House, Boyle.



Roscommon Schools’ Prize


Noelle Lynskey, now living in Portumna, is originally from Strokestown. She is Director of Shorelines Arts Festival, Portumna for the last 9 years and founder and member of the Maple Poetry Group and Portumna Pen Pushers as well as Ballinasloe Peers. In the past, Noelle read at Cuirt Literary Festival, Baffle, Inis Cealtra Arts Festival, Terryglass Arts Festival, Clifden Arts Festival and Cos Cos, with poems published in many anthologies and literary magazines including Crannóg, Skylight, Scríobh, Roscommon Anthology and West 47. Awards include Baffle, Scriobh and the Hannah Greally award.