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THE JACK SWIFT BEST 'IRISH WRITERS AND POETS' PRIZE 2021 is a new annual writing prize aimed at celebrating and discovering talented writers and poets who consider themselves, in some way, Irish. The judge each year will be a respected poet or writer. The prize will be inclusion in an internationally-published paperback edition by Black Spring Press (founded 1985) that will never include more than a tenth of submitted works. The top prize will be a thousand US dollars and a book deal.

The judge: Frank Dullaghan is an Irish writer who has lived in Ireland, UK, UAE, and Malaysia. He has four collections of poetry published by Cinnamon Press and a pamphlet, Secrets of the Body, a series of poems about the mythical Pope Joan, published by Eyewear Publishing. His fifth collection, In the Coming of Winter, is due out from Cinnamon in Autumn 2021. Frank holds an MA with Distinction in Writing from the University of South Wales. Before moving to Dubai in 2006, Frank was a co-founder of the Essex Poetry Festival and the editor of Seam, poetry magazine for many years.

Frank's screenplay for the short film Melody, featured in the best short films at the Dubai 48 hour film competition in 2012 and won the audience award at the Mumbai Womens International Film Festival. He also had short stage plays performed regularly in Dubai while he lived there. His short story, A Place of Grace, was shortlisted in the London Magazine Short Story Competition 2017. He has two novels in draft form and is currently working on a screen play for one of them.

The prize is named after the Quebec-born Irish-Canadian wit, bon vivant, writer and McGill law graduate Jack Swift.


1. Any person 18 years or older.

2. The author must be living at time of entry.

3. Any person who considers themselves to be Irish is eligible to enter, including but not limited to: persons with an Irish or Northern Irish birth certificate, passport or other form of identity papers; Irish adoptive or birthparents, or grand-parents; anyone currently resident in, or studying in, Ireland. Anyone resident anywhere in the world who considers themselves part of the Irish diaspora. The prize runners do not intend to adjudicate who is or is not Irish, and we will accept all reasonable claims, outside of the clearly satirical or fanciful.

4. The work submitted can have been previously published but copyright must remain with the author.

5. The author must be the sole and original author.

6. No illustrations or other non-textual material should be included.

7. Any form of writing may be submitted by word doc or pdf in the shorter forms - stories of 10,000 words or less; poems of 100 lines or less; brief monologues of five minutes running or less (can be excerpted from longer plays or screenplays). No novels or novellas or full collections, please.

8. For the purposes of submission, no aliases or pseudonyms - this does not relate to publishing terms. The entrant cannot be a current or former employee of the press or judge, or a close relative of the judge or any employee of the press. Those previously or currently published by the press ARE eligible. This is not a 'blind' contest in order to guarantee submission ethics guidelines are followed.

9. The small entry fee is to be used ONLY to cover the costs of the prize, including its administration, and payment for prizes and judging fees, as well as to help raise funds for the small indie press, Black Spring, following several months when almost all Irish and UK bookstores have been closed.

10. Payment of an entry fee in no way leads to automatic inclusion or acceptance in any book.

11. The judge's decisions are final.

12. The contest can be closed without notice at any time due to lack of sufficient entrants; and all money returned within 60 days to entrants.



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