Queen’s University Belfast: Seamus Heaney Centre announces shortlist for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2022

The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast has announced the shortlist for their 2022 Poetry Prize for a First Collection, supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The winner will be announced at the Award Night readings in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast in July 2022. The Shortlist includes:

The Time Being, by John FitzGerald (Gallery Books, 2021)
Aurora Town, by Annie Katchinska (Broken Sleep, 2021)
Eat Or We Both Starve, by Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet, 2021)
Honorifics, by Cynthia Miller (Nine Arches Press, 2021)
The Important Things, by Audrey Molloy (Gallery Books, 2021)
Deltas, by Leonie Rushforth (Proto-type, 2021)


The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000 and is invited to participate in the Seamus Heaney Centre’s busy calendar of literary events.

This year’s judges are Professor Nick Laird, poet and Seamus Heaney Professor of Poetry at Queen’s University and Dr Stephen Sexton, poet and lecturer in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre. They are joined by the acclaimed poet Jess Traynor.

Speaking about the prize Nick Laird, Chair of the judging panel, said: “The Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize is a highlight of the Seamus Heaney Centre’s year, and this year we saw a wonderful range and variety of debuts.

“We were impressed by the imagination and daring of the shortlisted books, and look forward to what the shortlisted writers do next.”

The winning and shortlisted writers will read at an event on Thursday 23 June, as part of the Seamus Heaney Poetry Summer School, supported by No Alibis Bookstore. The event will take place in person for the first time since 2019, at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

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