2019 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award Winner

Press Release | 2019 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award

The winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, sponsored by Grant Thornton, is Scott McKendry (32) from Belfast.

The €1,000 prize, which is awarded to a poet who has not yet published a full-length collection, was presented to the winner at the Kavanagh Weekend in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan, on Friday 27 September.

The judge of the award, the poet and novelist Brian Lynch, said, “McKendry’s work centres on Hopewell Place, in the Old Lodge district of Belfast known as the Hammer. As a PhD student at Queen’s University, Belfast, he manages to combine a scholar’s understanding of local history, stretching back to the 1830s, with an appreciation of the contemporary culture of a Loyalist area that has suffered from poverty and paramilitary violence all through our recent Troubles. His approach to the ironically named Hopewell Place is subtle, witty, sharply satirical, yet sympathetic.

“What is most remarkable about Scott, however, is his ear for the music of common speech and high poetry. I foresee a great future for him.

“The level of this year’s competition was so high that I felt obliged to choose four runners-up, each of whom, plus a number of other ‘highly commended’ entries, would have been a worthy winner.”

The runners-up are Jerm Curtin, from Cork, now living in Badajoz, Spain; Colette Colfer, Waterford City; Victoria Kennefick, Ballyard, Tralee, Co. Kerry; and Audrey Molloy, from Dublin, now living in Darling Point, Australia.

Scott McKendry was born in Belfast in 1987. After working as an electrician for seven years, he returned to full-time education in 2011. He is currently working towards a PhD at Queen’s University. McKendry has had work published in the anthologies The future always makes me so thirsty: New Poets from the North of Ireland (2016) and Happy Browsing: An Anthology in Praise of Bookfinders (2018) as well as the following journals: Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, The Tangerine, Public Illumination Magazine, The Manchester Review, Cyphers, The North and Virginia Quarterly Review; poems are also forthcoming in The Poetry Review and The Dark Horse. His debut pamphlet, Curfuffle (Lifeboat, 2019), was selected by the Poetry Book Society for its 2019 Autumn Pamphlet Choice.

Winner Scott McKendry, Northbrook St., Belfast Hammer & Environs’
Jerm Curtin, Badajoz, Spain The drowned city’
Colette Colfer Waterford City Seed’
Victoria Kennefick, Ballyard, Tralee, Co. Kerry. Hunger Strikes’
Audrey Molloy Darling Point, Australia Skin Song’
Emma Must Stranmillis Park, Belfast The Miracle Current’
A.M. Cousins Pineridge, Wexford Fitting’
Angela Finn Stillorgan, Co. Dublin From the wreckage’
Mark Ward Maxwell St.Dublin Consumed’
Sean Kelly Douglas Road, Cork. The Glass Tower’
Gail McConnell Wandsworth Rd. Belfast An Apple Seed’
Emily S.Cooper Laurel Park, Galway. The First Casualty of the Summer’
Nidhi Zakaria Eipe North Strand, Dublin. Inter/Ruptures’
Zosia Kuczynska Clonskeagh, Dublin. A Universe In Which Things Matter’
Teresa Godfrey Lough Shore Road, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh I Don’t Know If I Can Take Any More Of This’


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Email: kavanaghcentre@monaghancoco.ie

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