Poet named New Irish Writer of the Year

A STUDENT of NUI Maynooth’s Kilkenny Campus Creative Writing programme has won the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year award at a ceremony in Dublin.

A STUDENT of NUI Maynooth’s Kilkenny Campus Creative Writing programme has won the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year award at a ceremony in Dublin.

Niamh Boyce won the emerging poetry category for her poem Kitty, and the overall New Irish Writer of the Year Award at the 41st Hennessy Literary Awards. The overall prize usually goes to a prose writer and has only been bagged by a poet on seven occasions since the awards were established. Ciaran Carty, editor of New Irish Writing, judged the entries along with authors Giles Foden and Deirdre Purcell.

Having originally taken a Certificate in Creative Writing, Niamh is now part of the “Two Roads” follow-on programme offered at the campus. Taught by writers Suzanne Power and John MacKenna, this weekend course helps students to develop their writing further and keep up the momentum they have gained throughout the certificate year.

In addition to writing poetry, Niamh has also completed two novels and a collection of short stories. Course tutor Suzanne Power commented: “Niamh Boyce has the talent, fire and determination to make it all the way. Being her tutor is a privilege.”

John MacKenna also noted her talent and commitment and added; “This win, coupled with her finding an agent and the interest of a number of publishers in her work, has gladdened the hearts of everyone in Maynooth’s Kilkenny campus.”

Wishing her every success in the future, Maeve O’Byrne, acting head of campus, said: “This a wonderful achievement for Niamh. We are all very proud of her at Kilkenny Campus, where she has been a student for the past three years. We congratulate her on the hard work, dedication and talent that have been acknowledged through this award.”